Central Bank Governor Loi Bakani in his condolence message to the founding father of the nation said PNG owes him much for what it is today – a vibrant, progressive democratic nation of diverse cultures, traditions and tribes.
“Sir Michael joins an elite group of leaders who led their countries into independence and nationhood – forging a national identity, building national institutions and developing alliances across local and international borders.
Sir Michael’s achievements are unique and will be unmatched by anyone in PNG.
While other countries struggled for their independence, he oversaw a peaceful transition from colonial administrative rule to an independent, sovereign nation state.
Mr Bakani said during independence in 1975, the Bank of Papua New Guinea honored Sir Michael’s significant achievement as the country’s first Prime Minister by issuing a numismatic (uncirculated or a collector’s item) One Hundred Kina (K100) Gold Coin.
In recognition of Sir Michael’s outstanding achievements and illustrious service to the country, Mr Bakani said the Bank of Papua New Guinea featured his portrait on the Fifty Kina
The K50 banknote was first released in June 1989 and at the time, was our highest denomination banknote put into circulation as legal tender.
“His portrait depicts our road to nationhood and guardianship of our nation.
Carrying Sir Michael’s image on the K50 banknote in our wallets and bags, and using it for transactions is a constant reminder of what he has achieved throughout the course of his remarkable life – a life devoted to public service for our nation.
“The K50 banknote now has a special and signifificant meaning to all of us with his passing.
“We pay our greatest respect to the passing of our Founding Father, Elder Statesman, Distinguished Leader and National Figurehead. There was none before like him and there will be none after like him.”
“On behalf of the Board, Management and Staff of the Bank of Papua New Guinea, I convey our heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathy to Lady Veronica Somare, children – Bertha, Sana, Arthur, Michael Jnr and Dulciana, the grandchildren and great grandchildren, on the passing of the Father of Our Nation, Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare.”