By GYNNIE KERO
NEATLY attired, with chic neckties giving their uniform a majestic, complete look, shoes so shiny one can almost see one’s reflections on them.
The three elderly gentlemen standing in the corner waiting patiently for instructions would have put any young man to shame with their demeanor – plus the air of decorum, dignity and grandeur they exuded.
Waiting. Watching everything going on in the big room at Government House as their boss, Governor-General and Grand Chief Sir Bob Dadae hosts dignitaries.
Alfred Kava, Simeon Mideiwe and Danny Bell know they have important roles to play in the function.
The three stewards are among the longest-serving staff at Government House in Konedobu. They live in the staff quarters behind Government House.
Danny has been working there since 1983. Simeon is approaching his third decade while Alfred has served for more than a decade.
Stewards love to serve royalty, meet important guests at Government House
Danny is from Buang in Morobe. He joined Government House as a trainee steward in 1983 when Sir Kingsford Dibela was the Governor-General.
He has three brothers and a sister. Today he is a widower with four children and a grandchild who all live with him at the staff quarters.
His late father Su Bel had worked as chief gardener for Sir Donald Cleveland, the then administrator for the Territory of Papua New Guinea. His mother Gum Bel looked after the laundry for Sir Donald.
Danny will not forget the day he met Pope John Paul when he visited the country in 1995.
He said “Hello” to the Pope and received a gift from him.
Sir Wiwa Korowi was the then Governor-General and Sir Julius Chan was the Prime Minister.
Danny serves food and beverages and organises all the events in the function room.
Alfred is from the Highlands region. He loves working at Government House because it is “rewarding”.
His family safely lives in the vicinity of his workplace.
Alfred loves his work because it gives him the opportunity to meet important people both from here and abroad.
Simeon from Milne Bay was recruited to work at Government House during the colonial days. The job came by chance. A family member was accepted for the job but since Simeon was already in Port Moresby, he asked him to take it up. Simeon was already living with relatives in Port Moresby at the time.
The three gentlemen love the work they are doing which requires them to be smart, dress well, be disciplined and to be on the best of behaviour all the time.
When there are no ceremonies scheduled for the day, they will engage themselves in other work around the house.
They keep themselves busy in keeping the vice-regal accommodation in top condition.
Sir Bob recently raised his concern over the deteriorating condition of the house which will require around K35 million to renovate and upgrade.
When he moved there in 2017, Sir Bob started work on renovating some of the buildings including the staff quarters, and fencing the compound. The fencing built in the 1990s is falling apart.
He recently told government officials to have a new road built to Government House to be used by visitors including foreign dignitaries. The access from the Poreporena Freeway and Harbour City in Konedobu is often busy during peak traffic hours.
Danny, Alfred and Simeon are always on call for unscheduled visits by important people.
They too feel important serving the head of state and making sure all the events he hosts go without a hitch. Tough task but they love the responsibility that comes with it. There could not have asked for a better job.