The family of Papua New Guinea’s founding Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, have announced that the Grand Chief will not be making his final speech in parliament tomorrow.
The Somare family made the decision after parliament said it would rise tomorrow, April 4, which is also the 49th anniversary of the Grand Chief’s political career.
“… We feel the early closure of parliament is a slap in the face not just for Sir Michael, but for the country in celebrating a milestone in the country’s short political history,” said daughter, Bertha Somare.
Government officials had been planning a small event to mark Sir Michael’s exit from politics with the understanding that Parliament would rise after the day of the celebrations this Thursday.
“The proposed plan would have been a small ceremony beginning with a guard of honor and an assembly of students from different schools and singsing groups representing all our different provinces within the grounds of Parliament.”
While the family’s statement has steered clear from the turbulence of the last five days, it is understood party politics between coalition partners, National Alliance and the Prime Minister’s People National Congress has been allowed to affect the historic farewell.
The Grand Chief’s National Alliance Party will also be boycotting tomorrow’s final session of parliament in protest.