Early on Friday morning (26th February) the Nation woke up to the sad news of the passing of our Founding Father, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, bringing to close an unequaled era, illustrious legacy, life and political career that spanned well over four decades.
Four decades of unbroken meritorious commitment, loyalty and selfless nation building that began during those formative years, I need not say anymore, as it is well documented.
Most of us would not have personally met the Great Man, but would have been touched and impacted by his ambitious political will to ensure we joined the global community as a nation capable of holding our own and determining our destiny and well-being as an Independent Country.
There are many people that worked alongside Sir Michael in this journey of nation building over the years, and I was fortunate to have served him during the twilight years of his political career.
Our Policy Advisory Team back then, consisted of the evergreen Paul Bengo then Chief of Staff, Leonard Louma then Deputy Chief of Staff, Bertha Somare then PMs Media Advisor, Kora Nou current NBC Managing Director, Myself and Russell Saigomi, currently Media Officer at National Fisheries Authority.
Working together well into the evenings during bilateral and multilateral visits abroad, briefing the Chief and preparing his official statements, briefs, talking points and thank you letters to host Governments and then the NEC Policy submissions on the outcomes of those many international engagements was indeed a great honour, learning exercise and education for some of us, that are in the business of preparing the principal for international and domestic engagements.
I also observed that there was still that “fight in his belly”, for a better Papua New Guinea and I learned a great deal about the Man himself and what he intended for our beautiful country, politically, economically and socially.
Rest in Eternal Peace Grand Chief