The National, Tuesday 18th September, 2012
By DULCIE OREKE
PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill paid tribute to the “founding fathers and mothers of Papua New Guinea” at the 37th Independence Day anniversary celebrations in Port Moresby on Sunday.
At the flag-raising ceremony on Independence Hill, O’Neill paid tribute to those who made the dream of building a nation for every citizen a reality.
“Today, I also pay my special tribute and gratitude to our nation’s founding leaders for attaining Independence.
“I say thank you on behalf of all citizens, young and old, to our nation’s founding prime minister, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, for his lengthy active and loyal political leadership service to our country,” O’Neill said.
He also mentioned Sir Julius Chan of New Ireland, President John Momis of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, pioneer woman parliamentarian Dame Josephine Abaijah and statesman Sir John Kaputin who were among the leading figures of their time.
“I pay tribute also to all our former prime ministers, governors-general, opposition leaders and many other leaders for their contributions in the evolution of our nation.
“These great early leaders all did well for PNG, to unite our people and to lay the foundations of a vibrant democracy,” the prime minister said.
“Papua New Guineans must reflect on where they came from 37 years ago to where they are today and where they are heading as a nation.”
O’Neill said he was confident the nation would achieve greater prosperity for the people.
Special congratulatory messages were also sent from the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles and US President Barack Obama.