Sir Julius in tears as he farewells Sir Michael

New Ireland Governor and the chief engineer of our county’s independence, Sir Julius Chan was in tears when bidding farewell to his friend and the country’s founding father Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare in New Ireland on Tuesday.

Sir Julius said Sir Michael’s farewell is truly a day to reflect on the past and all they have been through.

“For we have been through much and share many memories.

“We were both elected to the second house of assembly in 1968 and have known each other for more than fifty years. What a journey it has been,” Sir Julius recalled.

He said they both decided on the form of government we should have to adopt a constitution and established a financial system by creating a Central Bank and our own currency.

“We made our case before the most influential bodies of the world, including the United Nations but we did it.

“And through it all you, Sir Michael were our chief.

“You were our Captain, the captain of the ship of State. I may have been in the engine room as Chief engineer, but you steered us safely through rough waters and brought us home to the safe haven of indepence.”

However, Sir Julius reiterated saying the strongest memories of all, are the two days in September 1975.

“And that is when the voice of Governor General Sir John Guise on the radio at one minute past midnight on Sept 15, 1975 and said: Papua New Guinea is now Independent.

“The constitution of the Independent state of Papua New Guinea is now in effect. Let us unite, with the Almighty God’s guidance and help, in working together for a future as a strong and free country.”

Sir Julius said he remembered the next morning on the 16th September 1975, the Australian flag was lowered and the flag of the independent state of Papua New Guinea was raised by PNGDF Commander while they stood together and witnessed the birth of our country.

He added that he was very proud that he shared those moments with Sir Michael.

“There is no one on earth but only you Sir Michael who can understand what I felt then, what I feel now and that is a bond we will always share.”

Sir Michael retired from politics this term of Parliament after serving the nation for 49 years.

Freddy Mou