A SPECIAL sitting of Parliament will be held on Thursday, March 11, when Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare will lie in state at Parliament House.
Prime Minister James Marape said the sitting would be televised around the country to allow those outside Port Moresby to watch the proceedings.
He plans to ask the Governor-General Grand Chief Sir Bob Dadae to attend the special session as the nation farewells Grand Chief Sir Michael.
“The three arms of Government will assemble in Parliament and the national organising committee will (invite) the Governor General Sir Bob Dadae to attend this special sitting,” Marape said.
“There will be a live broadcast nationwide and schools around the country will be selected as a place of reference for the communities where people can gather to witness the parliamentary proceedings and pay their last respect to the Grand Chief.
“We are also looking at bringing together all the former members of parliament, and pioneers of the country to fly in for the special sitting and the funeral service.
“We want this to be an occasion every Papua New Guinean citizen can be a part of.”
Meanwhile, the Haus Krai organised by the National Capital District Commission will involve the 22 provinces at the Sir John Guise Stadium Indoor Complex to honour the life of Sir Michael.
Marape said each province had been designated a day up to March 10.
The Port Moresby Haus Krai started last night with the Somare family attending the event at the indoor complex where hymns were sung by the Motu Koitabuans.
Today is for Central and Gulf, Wednesday for Milne Bay, Oro and Western, Thursday for East New Britain, West New Britain, and New Ireland. Friday is for Bougainville and Enga and Saturday for Eastern Highlands and Chimbu.
Sunday is for Jiwaka and Western Highlands, Monday for Hela and Southern Highlands, Tuesday for Madang and Morobe and Wednesday for East Sepik and West Sepik.
A big screen will be mounted outside the indoor complex to allow residents to watch the proceedings inside.
“Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, we are limiting those inside the indoor complex with everyone able to watch the proceedings inside on a big screen outside,” Governor Powes Parkop said.
Parliament will reconvene on March 11 as Sir Michael lies in state.
Friday March 12 is a public holiday with the funeral service to be telecast from the Sir Hubert Murray Stadium.
“The casket of Sir Michael will overnight at the family home on March 13 before departing Port Moresby for the last time on March 14, with the proceedings in East Sepik province to be handled by the East Sepik provincial government,” he said.
He said requests for the body to be taken to the four regions had been considered but “the body is not in a state to travel around the country”.
“We understand the family’s concerns and the Grand Chief’s wish and we are honouring that.”
Nation owes so much to Sir Michael, says Sir Bob Dadae
GOVERNOR-General Grand Chief Sir Bob Dadae says Papua New Guinea has lost a national treasure and national icon in Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare.
Sir Bob made the remarks when conveying his condolences.
He was informed of Sir Michael’s passing by his doctor at about midnight on Friday.
“He was one of a kind, unique not only to our nation but to the world as well,” Sir Bob said in a statement.
“His footsteps and legacy to those of us who have come after him will never be able to fulfil. We as a nation owe so much to Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare.
“His dream and vision for an independent and united Papua New Guinea has brought us to where we are now. He led a group of likeminded patriotic Papua New Guineans and brought our nation to self-governance and independence without war and bloodshed. That on its own is a significant milestone to achieve at such a young age of 39, more than 45 years ago.”
Sir Bob said Sir Michael devoted his life and service to the nation up until his passing.
“In this time of grief and sorrow, may we also honour and celebrate Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare and inspire our children and generations to come of the legacy of our Founding Father.
“Lady Emeline joins me in conveying to Lady Veronica, Arthur, Bertha, Sana, Dulciana and Junior and grandchildren and great grandchild of Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare our deepest condolences. We pray that the Almighty comforts and keeps you during this difficult time.”
“ It is not only we Sepiks that make up PNG.” – Sir Michael