SIR Pita Lus was a real hero because although, in terms of education, he only went as far as standard 3, it did not stop him from teaming up with educated leaders such as the late Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, late Sir Maori Kiki, late Sir Ebia Olewale, late Iambakey Okuk and late Sir Tei Abal etc.
We stood tall among others to convince Australia that we could become independent.
He was very vocal on many issues such as locals not allowed to go into bars and or hotels to drink alcohol or with shorts or thongs (slippers).
He supported the spirit of strikes and demonstration for pay increases and equal work opportunities and conditions.
I am nine years younger than him but was an adviser to the “Embryo” or the transitional government under their leadership in the late 1960s and early 1970s prior to independence.
He was one of the aggressive leaders who stood on principles.
I salute him and others who have gone before him.
He was a man of his words and never gave in easily to what others may think or say of or to him.
This is one legacy he has left behind for us and future generation.
I am very saddened by his passing as we both shared some physical similarities to the point where we would be mistaken for each other.
We both fought, under the banner of PNG Redress International Inc, for damages from World War 11 and war crimes compensation from the Japanese government – he was the patron and I am the secretary-general. I met up with him again this year in April in Maprik, his home district, and we had an emotional reunion, sharing together in his house.
I told him during our meeting at Palip that he and Sir Michael brought political independence but now, we needed economic independence, to which he replied: “Pikinini yupela go het na mekim” (Son, go on with this).
However, we have not completed our task and mission.
Our God knows when our dreams shall come to pass.
Paul Peter Masta