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This year marks the second year since the passing of the Founding Father Late Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare.

Late Grand Chief passed away on the 26th of February 2021 at Port Moresby due to illness.

In remembrance of him, a public holiday was announced for tomorrow 24th of February 2023.

Prime Minister James Marape announced in a statement his tribute to the Founding Father Late Grand Chief.

“I take this opportunity to pay homage to the memory of our country’s leading founding father, the Great Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare.

“Sunday, February 26, 2023, is the second anniversary of Sir Michael’s passing – an event that touched men and women, boys and girls, urban residents and rural people just as equally and profoundly through the length and breadth of our beloved Papua New Guinea.

“It was on this day, in 2021, that our nation’s father’s life was rested.

“At no one single time before or after our Independence, did one man’s death affect Papua New Guineans as overwhelmingly as Sir Michael’s. But then, no man had lived and dedicated his life quite the way Sir Michael had done to give wings to his vision, during a time of many limitations, for the unity of a thousand tribe of people into a single nation. With little, Sir Michael and his band of visionaries dared to make the dream of a sovereign Papua New Guinea come to reality.

“He was the architect of our Independence who, against prevailing views at that time, saw the possible. He needed important building blocks to be laid down. Our Constitution speaks of that outcome in very clear terms.

“Sir Michael was a man clearly well ahead of his time. Even in our unsophisticated state, he saw what he wanted. He then determined that he was the man to do something about it and he committed his entire life to achieve it.

“He inspired action. He fostered and harnessed the collective spirit of those around him to work hard and with a defined purpose. He confronted opposing views and brought them around. He commanded respect because of his wisdom and humility. His philosophy of dialogue and consensus befitting his chiefly name, ‘Sana’, unified thoughts and ideas. He rallied the troops for one common purpose.

“Sir Michael united our great country, from the Highlands to the sea, and on the islands. He had a surrounding presence that engulfed you as you came within his space.

“Much will be said, and much more will be written in the generations to come, about the ability, strength of will and farsightedness of this great man.

“This country and its people, young and old, owe a debt of gratitude to Sir Michael. Lest we forget! Our children will speak of him. Our institutions will remember him. People throughout the length and breadth of this country will discuss him in revered tones.

“Today, we stand proud as a ‘Nation of a Thousand Tribes’, taking our place among everyone else in the world, believing in the promises laying before us and taking advantage of our endowments and blessings. We continue to enjoy the vibrancy of our democracy while drawing strength from our cultural heritage as we look forward to the possibilities within us to achieve a truly united, homogeneous society where wealth is equitably shared by all and each and every citizen can live up to their fullest God-given potential. This is the dream central to Sir Michael’s vision, as espoused under the National Goals and Directive Principles and which we continue to work for today.

“I take this time to thank once more all our people throughout the country who have shown such depth of love and kindness to our great founding father, for the way you celebrated his life at his passing, in 2021. Your love and sense of loss demonstrated the impact the late Sir Michael had on our country and each of our lives. 

“I take this opportunity to appeal to each one of us to continue expressing our love and gratitude to Sir Michael by advocating and living the things he lived for – a law abiding and united Papua New Guinea. We must cease ethnic divisions and every other thing that separates us and work at creating a safe and harmonious Papua New Guinea as he had initially envisaged.

“I pay tribute to his enormous memory. Thank you, Sir Michael, from all of us your children. We see your face in our flag; we hear your voice in the words of the National Anthem; we feel the hope for a better tomorrow every time we look into the eyes of our children. And we vow to do our best for our beloved Papua New Guinea.

“You were our best, our greatest champion, our country’s brightest light. Gone but never to be forgotten.

“Papua New Guinea will live on, and so will your legacy.

“We thank God for your life” Prime Minister James Marape said.

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