THE death of former diplomat, politician, lawyer and author Bernard Narokobi is a loss of one of the country’s exemplary leader who never lost touch with the aspirations of the Melanesian people, Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has said.
“Mr Narokobi was a humble man who dedicated his life to the development of a legal regime that incorporates Melanesian values.
“His life work was to ensure that our values are entrenched in all aspects of modern PNG life.
“His service to PNG was outstanding and is reflected in the offices that he held throughout his professional life.
“Mr Narokobi was a lawyer, writer and philosopher, Member of Parliament, and for the most part, was party leader of the Melanesian Alliance Party.
“Even before becoming an MP, Mr Narokobi played a significant part in the Constitutional Planning Committee that put together PNG’s National Constitution,” Sir Michael said.
He said Mr Narokobi held important positions such as speaker, leader of the opposition, and attorney-general.
“He also played a role in the Bougainville talks against secession in 1975 and later during the crisis in 1989.
“In 1996, Mr Narokobi joined me and a small group of parliamentarians to go into Bougainville at the height of the crisis to negotiate the release of hostages in Laguai.
“He was an exemplary leader and took his role as an elected representative of the people literally and seriously.
“He was a humble man who did not lose touch with the aspirations of the Melanesian people.
“I first met Mr Narokobi in Brandi Intermediate Primary School.
“He was the second intake of students when he attended my class.
“Even then, I could see that he had a great appetite for learning and showed great potential.
“I am pleased to have been a part of his life and will always remember him and his contributions to this country.”