PNG will always be grateful to Sir Michael, says Marape

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PAPUA New Guinea will always be grateful to the late Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare and his generation of leaders as it continues to exist as one people, nation and country, Prime Minister James Marape says.
During the flag-raising ceremony at Independence Hill in Port Moresby, Marape said this was the first Independence anniversary celebrations without Papua New Guinea’s founding father, Sir Michael, since 1975 and it was also this year that the fifth prime minister and first indigenous Finance secretary Sir Mekere Morauta was laid to rest.
“As we pass through 2021, we stand at the cusp of a generational transition where founding fathers of our nation are passing on the political, public service, church and community leadership to us – the generation of today,” he said.
“Many commentators had written our nation off in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s up till today, but we have proved to these doomsayers that we can live on. We have survived the ancient age, the formative seventies, the exciting eighties, the testing nineties and the millennial controversies.
“This has only proven that we can live through the test of time, solidified by our diversity like a bilum of many colours, woven into one of great strength from its various fibres – indeed ‘one people, one nation, one country.
“We must re-pledge – that we will live on as one people, one nation and one country from the easternmost tip of sovereignty to the western borders; from the southern seas to the furthest north of our sovereignty.
“For this cause, I stand here today to re-pledge my fullest commitment.”
Marape said PNG was a nation blessed with one-third of the world’s tropical rainforests that housed 7 per cent of world’s biodiversity; a nation’s waters that has 20 to 30 per cent of world’s tuna catch; a nation that has the world’s fourth-biggest gold mine in Lihir and all other mining and hydrocarbon projects with 97 per cent of land still owned by people are all reasons why we should and must be prosperous.
“Our slogan ‘Take Back PNG’ is not to take PNG backwards but rather to take PNG back from hands of ‘corruption and complacency’ and gearing up for our economy to look after our country and you all, my people,” he said.