Game changer

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TRIBUTES continue to pour in for the Bulolo MP and Deputy Prime Minister Sam Basil with many describing him as an all-rounder.
Basil, 52, will lie in state this morning in Parliament – 15 years after he became an MP – before the state funeral at the Sir John Guise stadium indoor complex later this afternoon.
Basil contested the Bulolo open seat in 2002, missed out narrowly but five years later made a grand entry into politics with a superior victory.
Among those who paid tribute to him was daughter of the late Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, Dulciana Somare-Brash.
Dulciana, a member of Basil’s United Labour Party, was part of his team who revived the Pangu Pati in 2014.
“For years, we agreed and fought on how we should revive an old party, leave one, build one and how our party machinery would be run,” she said.
“You, parliamentary wing and me – executive and party council.
“From 2016, Pangu gave us a reason and a season.
“And two years later, ULP revealed your true abilities and your political prowess in the face of uncertainty.
“Not many instigated changes of government in PNG in recent times and then survived the aftermath, you did.
“Always a pathfinder, a game changer.
“For you a clear pathway forward was always evident.
“I wrote policies, position papers, speeches, press releases, blogs, letters and cabinet submissions that you hated (or loved) or tore up and yet you always insisted I stay close in case you needed to use my ‘fancy words’.
“We worked hard.
“You tirelessly always.
“Your energy was contagious.
“But you did it mostly alone and always with clarity.”
Prime Minister James Marape acknowledged Basil’s effort, saying: “The ruling Pangu Pati I now lead is due to the hard work of Basil in 2014.
“He single-handedly resurrected the Pangu Pati.
“The one-man party became two in 2015 when the late Goilala MP William Samb joined Basil.”
New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan describes Basil as a “great politician and a great friend”.
He said the deputy prime minister was a young man, only 52, and had more years of service to offer the people of Bulolo and the country. “I cannot believe he is gone,” Sir Julius said in a statement yesterday.
“Words cannot express the sadness we feel at this moment.
“I remember Sam’s entry into national politics when he ran for the Bulolo open seat in 2002.
“In that election, he ran as a People’s Progress Party (PPP) candidate, and though he performed well, he narrowly lost the election.
“However, Sam spent the next five years working for, meeting with and coming to understand the needs and concerns of his people.
“In 2007, he ran again as a PPP candidate, and in that election the people returned him with a resounding victory.
“He was only 38 at the time, but he was wise beyond his years,” Sir Julius said.
“He served with distinction as my deputy leader in Parliament, and though in later years he left the PPP, he nevertheless remained a good friend.
“And the people loved Sam as much as he loved his people.
“In the most recent election, 2017, Sam received more than 10 times as many votes as the second-placed candidate.
“That is the level of confidence his people had in him.
“We have all lost a pillar of strength who can never be replaced.”