We are gathered here today as a City to pay tribute and celebrate a great man who has given his life so we can be a people and a nation, building a better future together.
We thank you Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare and Lady Veronica Somare for gracing us with your presence. We are honoured and humbled that for you to accept our invitation and allow the people of your City to be part of your celebration, tribute and farewell you from your long distinguish service to our people and our nation.
Grand Chief we all love you and fondly refer to you as Father of the nation. Indeed this is a title and honour you rightly deserve.
There are many who joined and assisted you to realise your dream of having a free, democratic and independent State of PNG but it would not have happened without you. You had the dream, the passion and the determination to make it happen and without you it would not happen or perhaps not happen in the way and the time that it did.
For that we are forever grateful. We will always be we always honour you as the Father of the nation. You deserve that honour and you the only one who can have that honour.
But Grand Chief we honour and thank you too because you are more than Father of the nation. You are the reason for its survival and progress up to because you are the foundation that has held this country together for 42 years. Whether we admit it or deny it, a fact is a fact. This nation of a thousand tribes was an impossible mission from the beginning.
Many were sceptical and they had many reasons to be, given the post-colonial experience in Africa, Asia and the Americans where nation and people tore each other apart after independence. But you are the glue and the common denominator that held this nation of a thousand tribes together because from the beginning you had faith and trust in our people. You had challenges everywhere. Some section or the Highlands were not ready. The Papuans wanted to go. Bougainville did not agree and the Mataugans wanted to do it their way but because of your faith, trust, vision and patience we did tear each other apart.
You held us together. You gave us patience and tolerance. You taught us to gradually learn to respect, trust each other and to integrate as one people, one country with one destiny. Today we still face these challenges. Bougainville will decide in 2019 whether to go or to stay or to be in between. Undercurrents of ethnic tensions caused by social and economic challenges still simmer within our mist but the country and the nation is stronger and will persevere because we have learnt from you to be patience; to adjust, to respect and to trust and have faith in the nation of a thousand tribes our determination to defy the odds and not just survive but also prosper. So today as we bid you farewell from your long illustrious and distinguish services to our nation Grand Chief on behalf of the people of the City I want to declare that not only you are the father of the nation but you are its foundation and its success.
You are an institution, a pillar of our nation that have natured this country, sustained it and brought it this far because of your ethics, values and faith in our people and our country. We have survived as a people and a nation and can be confident of the future because not only we have these vast natural resources and institutions of State that you have built and left for us but also because of an institution called Michael Thomas Somare who taught us to have faith, to overcome the impossible, to be patient, to trust, to respect, to forgive; to humble and to be optimistic and positive always.
Grand Chief for me and for the City this is the greatest legacy you will and have left behind which you should be proud of. This is the real foundation by which you have built this nation of a thousand tribes which does and will continue to survive fourty-two years and forever. We salute you and we thank you for this greatest gift to our nation and our people. We will honour this legacy.
As you depart to have your well-deserved rest in Wewak, Karau, Somare Hill at 4 Mile, NCD, Manus or Kavieng or wherever you call home, I want to assure you on behalf of the City and its residents and on behalf of the generation who were the children of Independence like me who now in the helm of political, administrative, business, religion and civil society sector of this nation that you nourished and created, that we will honour your legacy and we will have this impossible action a success as you dreamt it would be.
We might not have joined your Party, been in your Government and served as your Minister but we all been inspired and guided by you directly or indirectly and we have been taught great lessons by you and we owe it to you, to ourselves and to our children to continue to make this nation a success. We will overcome the political challenges because you taught us how. We will overcome the economic challenges because you showed us how. We will overcome the ethnic and social challenges because you taught us to love and respect, have faith, believe in ourselves and believe in PNG. And we will. We will overcome any challenges because you taught us to be patient and to forgive. We shall overcome and we shall prosper and we shall continue your dreams and our dreams of a free, democratic, peaceful and prosperous Papua New Guinea.
You should and must have that assurance and comfort because that’s exactly what we are doing and building here in Port Moresby the Capital that you also choose and created for this nation of a thousand tribes. For which I am proud to be its Governor for two terms seeking a third term. It is an honour to be here to represent this City you created and a privilege to bid you farewell As we close and bid you farewell on behalf of our City, its residents, the municipal Government of the City, NCD, its Board and Staff and on behalf of the Motu Koitabu people and my family we salute you Grand Chief Michael Thomas Somare.
We salute Lady Veronica Somare, we thank you children and family in Karau, Murik Lakes for your life, for your faith, for your guidance, for your service, for your sacrifice, for your dedication and for your dreams to take our people and our nation to where it is today.
We thank the people of East Sepik for their continued confidence and endorsement to mandate you to represent them and provide the leadership for the country for the last 49 years. You will always remain Father of the nation and your life will live forever. You are our rock, our foundation and an Institution of State. We bid you farewell and wish you all the best in your retirement.
Hon. Powes Parkop, LLB, LLM, MP
Governor - National Capital District