Chairman of the National Organising Committee of the State Funeral of
Grand Chief Rt. Hon. Sir Michael Somare and Secretary for Department
of Prime Minister & National Executive Council, Ivan Pomaleu, expressed disappointment at the breach of the Jacksons Airport secured
area by a section of the crowd that turned up to farewell the Grand
Secretary Pomaleu understands the people’s wish to see Grand Chief Sir Michael given an honorable repatriation, fitting for the Founding Father of our Nation, however, their right to express their wish should be done within the parameters of the laws.
Pomaleu said it is regrettable that sections of the crowd at Jacksons
Airport in Port Moresby breached the secured area, which resulted in leaders including the Speaker of the National Parliament addressing them.
“I note that any breaches in the area is an illegal act under the relevant Civil Aviation laws.
“We all are mourning the passing of the Grand Chief, but in doing so,
we must continue to keep within the parameters of the Law. That is what Grand Chief promoted all his life.”
Secretary Pomaleu urged all fellow citizens to continue upholding the
Law, while the nation mourns the passing of a national icon.
“On the choice of travel for the casket; Air Niugini Q400 was chosen because it was the Government’s desire to honour the Grand Chief by taking him home in the country’s flag carrier,” he said and adding
that the dimensions of the casket immediately ruled out Fokker 100 and
Fokker 70 as the loading doors would not allow the casket to be loaded.
“Landing capabilities in Wewak ruled out larger aircrafts. It is to be
noted also that airline regulatory advisors ruled out any reconfiguration of the cabin to bring a casket onto the
passenger area, without compromising the safety and suitability of the
“This is truly regrettable but is something that requires understanding rather than uninformed criticism. It is about how best we honour the Grand Chief within the prevailing set of parameters.
Secretary Pomaleu also thanked the Government of Australia for their
support in the final repatriation of the casket of the Late Grand
Chief Rt. Hon, Sir Michael Somare to Wewak yesterday afternoon.
He acknowledged that support strongly as demonstrated by the
deployment of a C130, which uplifted the hearse and the C27J Spartan,
which eventually uplifted the casket.