By FAY DUEGA
Seventy-five-year old Madang man Simon Mamot’s love and service for his people paid off with an MBE (Member of the British Empire) award last year.
From Sarang village in the Sumgilbar LLG of the Sumkar District, Mamot’s service has spanned over 30 years resulting in the award in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours and Awards list at Government House in Port Moresby by Governor General Sir Bob Dadae on Nov 23, 2017.
Although I have not met him, by reading his biography, I could see that Mamot was a promising leader at a very young age. In 1957, at the age of 15, he started school at Sarang Primary School (now Sakul Primary School). Due to his brilliance, he skipped levels of education and within four years, he completed his basic education at Tusbab High School (now Tusbab Secondary School) in 1960.
Between 1961 and 1966, he studied Carpentry at Idubada Technical School (now Port Moresby Technical College) for four years and had a one-year apprenticeship in those times. Subsequently, Mamot graduated with a tradesman certificate in Carpentry in 1966.
He then went on to study Building Engineering at Lae Technical College in 1967-1968 but left on his own accord. He was then recruited by the Royal PNG Constabulary (RPNGC) to Bomana Police Training College to undertake officer cadet training in 1969.
While studying to become a policeman, he was again selected to attend a six-month diploma course in middle management at the Australian School of Pacific Administration in Sydney. In 1971,Mamot graduated at the Bomana Police Training College and was certified a commissioned officer to the rank of Sub Inspector in the RPNGC.
While in the RPNGC, he was assigned to work in various provinces and was at one time commanding the mobile riot squad dealing with civil unrests and tribal conflicts and was based in Mt. Hagen, Western Highlands. After serving the RPNGC for nine years, he resigned and returned home.
Once settled at home, he got busy again putting his knowledge and skills into good use. He was considered a great asset to his people and was appointed the president for Pasika Youth.
Recognising his leadership qualities, Mamot was later appointed unopposed as the village councilor for Ward 8 in the Sumgilbar Local Level Government (LLG).
In 1981, he was elected the council president for Sumgilbar LLG and held this post for nine years during which time, he brought about many landmark developments to the people of Sumgilbar. This include the construction of the feeder roads from Banab to Dorum and Dorum to Babel in the Sum area; construction of the Wasab to Zizi and Zizi to Budum feeder road in the Bargam area.
In the Gilagil area, his term saw the construction of the Basken ring road, Dadik/Babgi to Sarang to Mirap to Dimer to Basken to Dadik and also from Sewan School to Inangawei.
Mamot also started the council chambers furniture shop with a loan of K10,000 from ANZ Bank. The loan was repaid within one and a half years.
He encouraged educational tours for councilors and took the ward councilors on a trip to Mt Hagen, Chimbu and Lae.
He set up a joint venture with Kaka Construction Company from which the Kubugam jetty and warehouse were built.
Seeing the benefits that the cattle and robusta coffee projects at Babe and Musuwat which one of their pioneer leaders, Kaki Angi had started, Mamot continued supporting them.
He also set up a chicken slaughter house at Dylup for local poultry farmers to have their chicken dressed ready for sale.
Under his leadership, the aid post orderly’s house at Sakul was built.
He was the first president to represent councils at the Madang provincial education board and was chairman of Malala Catholic Secondary School board of governors.
He invited Canadian Aid which facilitated the Karem Water Supply and Karem Elementary School.
Mamot was the chairman of the board of directors of Sumgilbar to the Ambesugi Earthmoving Company. He used to personally collect taxes from tax payers as far as Kumbur and Waurul and Perenei.
He also promoted small holders of cocoa plantation in the LLG through the then Sumkar member, the late Galeng Lang.
Mentioned are the projects that were set up when Mamot was the council president. Most of them set the foundation to development in the area. Some were well-maintained while others have ceased to operate.
He retired in 1992 after losing the LLG ward Eelection. Along with his wife Thresea , they inspired many development projects through church and other social services, such as children’s rights, and integral human development by Caritas PNG.
Despite not being in the political arena anymore, the community still recognised his potential and in 2000, Fr Joseph Durero nominated him to attend the Basic Ecclesial Community at Kefamo Catholic Training Centre in Eastern Highlands where he was trained on church administration as the secretary to parish pastoral council.
In 2011, he attended a certificate in para-legal training to settle land disputes and maintain order in the community.
In 2016, in appreciation of his service to the community, Melchior Kasap, a retired long serving government officer nominated Mamot for the Queen’s award.
“I hope my people in the LLG, districts and Madang Province as a whole would be encouraged and challenged by my story of contributions I made from the colonial days until today. If I can do something positive for a common good, then you can do it too for a better PNG,” Mamot said.
- Fay Duega is a communications officer with the PNG Forest Authority.