During the flag lowering ceremony in Port Moresby yesterday, Governor General Bob Dadae said for the first time ever, the spirit of unity and oneness dismissed all doubts and fears of succeeding as a new nation.
“The passion to now be identified as a Papua New Guinean was demonstrated in many areas – in politics, education and academic attainment and sports. The shared determination to excel was driven by the strong passion to stand tall and to be counted as a proud Papua New Guinean,” said the GG.
“My fellow citizens and friends, this is the value of celebrating Independence Day.
“Unity was all that mattered. It drove a burning desire and passion to stand together as one People, one Nation and one Country.
“Our resolve to be one People has given us the strength and ability to find solutions to manage new challenges.
“Now is the time to face significant, and sometimes, unpredictable challenges in areas such as national security, climate change, energy provision and access to capital funding – which have their links in global trends, but which we need to be prepared to address locally.
“Our nation is known the world over for its diverse culture and traditions, unique flora and fauna that are found nowhere else in the world, and an abundance in natural and mineral resources. Sadly, many of our precious cultures and languages are fast disappearing and our rare flora and fauna are fast becoming extinct.
“Our challenge, ladies and gentlemen, is to put forth significant effort to protect these precious resources which makes us uniquely Papua New Guinea.”
The Grand Chief said now is the time to also demonstrate greater interest in social issues – mental health, diet, commitment to values, drugs and youth problems, including gender violence, which will often require behavioural interventions from an individual perspective, community and Government.
“The struggle to pursue economic growth must be managed within the confines of the interest of people and their environment. The business of government operations is all about the wellbeing of its citizens,” he said.
“If Papua New Guineans are to experience a greater sense of ownership, enterprise and satisfaction, they must be allowed to venture out and compete in promoting businesses that can carry them over the long haul.
“At this juncture, I take this opportunity to acknowledge the Government for introducing legislations intended to safeguard PNG-owned businesses and contractors to bid for projects worth up to K10 million, and joint venture partnership for projects worth between K10 million and K30 million.
“I further urge the Government to revisit and strengthen the reserved jobs for Papua New Guineans only. Many of our people are skilled and experienced for jobs that should be reserved for our people only. We have many qualified Papua New Guineans occupying top positions in various fields of employment in foreign countries. This is testament to the ability and talent of our people, something we must harness and facilitate opportunities for here in country to enable our people to contribute their knowledge and skills to the development of our nation.
“This I believe, will also contribute to reducing unemployment in the country and enable our people to meet their basic needs as well as that of their families.
“We must continue to reassure ourselves of our shared vision to be smart, wise, happy, healthy, wealthy and a happy country. We must convince ourselves that nothing will hinder us from achieving this vision if we can rekindle the spirit of unity and the pride of being Papua New Guinean.
“It is our individual calling. It is our individual duty and we have an obligation to each other as Papua New Guineans to hold this country far above the material temptations of the present day.
“When we are united it is hard to go wrong. When we are united nothing will stop us from getting what we want. When we are united and know our vision, our future is certain.
“We have made great strides since becoming an independent nation 43 years ago. Our fellow countrymen have exceled in the areas of aviation, education and academia, medicine, sports and our servicemen in the military are some of the best in this region.
“These individuals have demonstrated that despite the many challenges and difficulties they face, they are able to triumph over these obstacles to become successful. They, like our founding fathers in the likes of Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, are a beacon of hope and inspiration of what we as individuals can achieve for ourselves and our nation, Papua New Guinea.
“To continue to succeed, each one of us must aspire beyond our expectations as we continue to build our nation.
“As a nation, we have also made significant progress on the international arena. For the first time since joining, PNG will host APEC world leaders and heads of government from all over the world for the APEC Summit in November. This is the first time our country will play host to such an international event here on our shores, despite having the smallest economy within the community.
“It is a milestone for our nation and one we can be proud of, and so, once again I appeal to all Port Moresby residents to accord our international visitors the best of our hospitality, friendliness and respect.
“We have successfully hosted preceding APEC meetings thus far, and I have every confidence that we will put on an impressive and memorable staging of the Summit in November.
“On this occasion, our Independence Anniversary, let us stand proudly and proclaim to the world that we are a land of thousand tribes, united as one people and one country. We pledge to work together to achieve peace and prosperity for our nation and the world at large.
“Happy 43rd birthday, Papua New Guinea. Let us give thanks to the Almighty for his guidance and provisions over the last 43 years.
“May God bless you all and happy celebrations!”
(Governor General Grand Chief Sir Bob Dadae with PNGDF Chief of Staff Capt Philip Polewara, right, and Governor General's military ADC Capt Samuel Pilake at the flag lowering ceremony)