Hundreds attend celebrations

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HUNDREDS of people turned out in PNG colours at various locations around the country to celebrate the country’s 44th independence anniversary yesterday.
Celebrations began as early as 5am for Port Moresby residents, with the a flag-raising ceremony at Independence Hill.
Prime Minister James Marape, in his first speech as prime minister at Independence Hill, urged everyone to work together to develop the country.
In Port Moresby, celebrations were held at Jack Pidik Park, Independence Boulevard and Paga Hill ring road which attracted hundreds of people.
One thing was noticeable compared with the occasion over the last few years, more people turned up and more people were in PNG colours – red, black and gold.
There was more enthusiasm among people even though there were no new events to go with the occasion or at venues.
Lae residents celebrated the anniversary at the Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium.
Lae MP and Minister for Lands and Physical Planning John Rosso said he was proud to see the city celebrate every year despite not having enough funds
“It was tears of joy to see them when driving down to the stadium to see everyone walking around with PNG flags – not our provincial flags.
“We must always remember to stand as one country – we are Papua New Guinea and we are not regionalistic.
“We must always be proud that we are Papua New Guineans in the city of Lae no matter where you come from,” Rosso said.
In Alotau, Milne Bay, locals gathered at the Alice Wedega Park where Finance Minister Charles Abel was the official guest.
For locals in Telefomin, West Sepik, the celebrations coincided with a special ceremony to acknowledge ward councillors and past councillors for their service to the district.
Celebrations included traditional singsing, games and presentation of gifts to former ward councillors.
Telefomin MP Solan Mirisim urged locals to venture into agriculture.
In Goroka, Eastern Highlands, the weekend coincided with the 63rd Goroka Show.
Speaking during the opening on Saturday, Governor-General Sir Bob Dade said tourism potential in the country had not been fully utilised.
Sir Bob said along with tourism, agriculture was the backbone of the country.
Sir Bob added that after 44 years of independence, Papua New Guineans should have no excuse to sit back and complain about lack of development and services in communities and provinces.
Meanwhile, at the flag-lowering ceremony in Port Moresby yesterday, Sir Bob urged the people to grow up and develop their mindset to a level of maturity and decency, respect and regard for others.
“Nothing will hinder us from achieving this vision, if we can rekindle the spirit of unity and the pride of being a Papua New Guinean,” Sir Bob said.

East Sepik dancers at the independence anniversary celebrations at the Jack Pidik Park in Port Moresby yesterday.
School students leading a march at the Independence Boulevard Road in Waigani yesterday.
West Sepik students performing a traditional item at the Koroboro International School’s 44th independence anniversary celebrations in Port Moresby on Friday.

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