GOVERNOR-General Grand Chief Sir Bob Dadae has described Deputy Prime Minister the late Sam Basil, a hands-on leader who was involved directly with the people.
Sir Bob in paying tribute to Basil, the Bulolo MP, said he was a hard-working politician and fully committed to the service of his people.
“The people of Morobe have lost a remarkable leader a “Kwila” of Morobe in Sam Basil, the likes of which is impossible to replace,” Sir Bob said.
Prime Minister James Marape said Basil set up the ruling Pangu Pati he now leads with his hard work in 2014.
“The one-man party became two in 2015 when the late Goilala MP William Samb joined Basil to revive this great PNG institution.
“Basil led Pangu into the 2017 general election, winning six seats in Morobe and others around the country, bringing it back to life – something for which we the present Pangu are indebted to,” Marape said. Ialibu-Pangia MP Peter O’Neill in his tribute described Basil as a skilful politician who resurrected Pangu Pati and built United Labour Party into a political force.
“A skilful politician, (Basil) resurrected Pangu Pati and steered it back to being a major political party.
“He proved his strength when he was not able to continue to lead Pangu and despite his sadness, turned his attention to making United Labour Party a genuine political force.
“He set his mind to these goals, made plans and stuck at it until it was achieved.
“Sam never let politics get in the way of his friendships and I for one, have been very grateful over many years to be the recipient of Sam’s mate-ship.
“At 52, he was poised to capitalise on his experience in public life and make even greater contributions to his people and our country,” O’Neill said.
East Sepik Governor Allan Bird said that Basil championed good governance for a long time before he and other MPs entered Parliament.
“He bravely fought successive governments from the Opposition bench.
“It took great skill and exceptional courage to do what he did.
“His leadership of Pangu Pati and the people of Morobe in particular in 2017 had a significant impact on PNG politics in this term,” Bird said.
Meanwhile, United Labour Party Morobe branch president Kay Takiseng said the party would continue Basil’s legacy and try to fulfil his wishes in continuing with party programme of nominations for its endorsed candidates.
“He wanted to become prime minister and was building us as an Eastern bloc starting from Jiwaka, Chimbu, Eastern Highlands, Madang and Morobe.
“His dreams had motivated us to still go into the election and continue with our candidates nominations.”
Wau, Bulolo shut down, in chaos after MP’s death
BULOLO and Wau towns shut down yesterday following the sudden and tragic death of Deputy Prime Minister and Bulolo MP Sam Basil, according to police.
Wau Senior Inspector Leo Kaikas said the news of the 15-year-term MP’s fatal accident on Wednesday evening immediately resulted in chaos in the district.
He said some political supporters gathered at the Bulolo Hospital where Basil was rushed to from the accident site while others, mostly male youths, went on a rampage, burning down market stalls and tried looting stores.
Kaikas said the decision to quickly airlift Basil out of district the same night at least controlled the situation from getting out of hand.
“Locals rushed to get into the hospital,” he said.
“Stones and sticks were thrown at us; roadblocks were set-up and the town came to a standstill in the early hours of yesterday.
“His family and supporters were shocked and wanted to know his condition, so we had to keep him longer at Bulolo, situation on ground could have worsened.”
Kaikas said with tension still high, he ordered all businesses and services in both Bulolo and Wau to stop until everything was back to normal.
“We are fearing a spill-over of the situation into Wau because things have already escalated in Mumeng and along the highway,” he said.
“There is mixed feeling on the ground so I advise no movement until everything is under control.
“We are monitoring with the assistance of additional units from Lae and Morobe commands.”