The National, Tuesday July 30th, 2013
THE presence of four former prime ministers with incumbent Peter O’Neill at an event in Mt Hagen was a significant moment for the nation, Finance Minister James Marape says.
He thanked Western Highlands Governor Paias Wingti for inviting all of them to the groundbreaking ceremony for the new provincial headquarters in Mt Hagen.
“It was a time when national leadership transition was publicly transferred by our independence era from former PMs to a leader who will take us into the modern era,” Marape said.
“Governor Wingti showed great humility by staging a public event that symbolises the combined blessing (of the former PMs) to O’Neill.”
The former PMs present at the ceremony were Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, Sir Julius Chan, Sir Rabbie Namaliu and Wingti.
The new five-storey headquarters is to replace the burnt Kapal Haus.
O’Neill gave K60 million and committed another K60 million for next year at the Queens Park Oval in Mt Hagen last Friday.
Also present were Cabinet Ministers Mao Zeming, William Duma, Michael Malabag, Francis Awesa, Benny Allen, Rimbik Pato and Marape. Southern Highlands Governor William Powi and East New Britain Governor Ereman ToBaining Jr were there as well.
Marape said it was a significant moment in the nation’s history when the baton of leadership was jointly passed on to O’Neill by former national leaders.
Marape said the main message which the former PMs relayed that day was for people to unite and respect the government in place for development to take place.
“I have great confidence in the ability of our Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to lead our country and I ask for all of us to follow the example of the founding fathers of our nation,” he said.