New Ireland farewells Somare
By: The National
NEW Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan has described East Sepik Governor Sir Michael Somare as a captain who steered PNG through the safe haven of independence.
In a farewell ceremony in Kavieng yesterday for Sir Michael, the country’s founding father, Sir Julius said he and Sir Michael had known each other for over 50 years.
“You (Sir Michael) were born in Rabaul and I was born in Tanga, raised in Rabaul,” Sir Julius said. So the truth is that Sir Michael Somare and Sir Julius Chan are both children of the islands.”
Sir Julius and Sir Michael were elected to the Second House of Assembly in 1968.
“I may have been in the engine room as chief engineer, but you steered us safely through rough waters, and brought us home to the safe haven of independence,” he said.
“We are two old warriors. We have been through many battles together.
“We have sometimes crossed swords ourselves. But we have always together held the good of our country, the good of Papua New Guinea, as our highest calling.
“When Papua New Guinea was born, it was an entire United Nations in its own right. Our incredibly diverse country made the mighty United Nations look like a small elementary school classroom.”
Sir Julius said the country remained unified despite the many pressures because Sir Michael realised diversity as strength and not a weakness.
He said the decision to introduce the provincial system recognised this which secured the country’s future.
“In the midst of turmoil and conflict and secessionist movements we needed a peacemaker, a unifier,” Sir Julius said.
“Sir Michael, more than anything else we needed a Sana. It is Sana who held this nation together.
“It is Sana who put together government after government with representatives from the Highlands, Papua, Momase, and of course the New Guinea Islands.
“It is Sana who taught us we all must give a little, we all must compromise a little, if we are all to prosper together.”