Grand Chief Somare to boycott Parliament farewell

East Sepik Governor Sir Michael Somare will boycott his Parliament farewell tomorrow.

This will certainly disrupt Parliament when it resumes on Tuesday.   

National Events and Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko confirmed to Loop PNG that Tuesday’s Parliament’s business is dedicated to farewell Papua New Guinea’s first Prime Minister.

Tkatchenko said when parliament sits; Sir Michael will make his farewell speech as a Member of Parliament before Prime Minister, Opposition Leader and Speaker make their reply.

He added that parliament will be adjourned for the day, for a State dinner at the State Function Room for all MPs in the 9th Parliament to attend.

A statement from the Somare family this afternoon stated that, “with disrespect shown by Government, the National Alliance Party has chosen not to participate in the last sitting tomorrow 4 April 2017.

“Sir Michael as the founding leader of National Alliance (who has never been removed from the Party) will also unfortunately not be making his address in parliament tomorrow.”

“As you probably know government officials have been organising for two weeks a small ceremony in the grounds of parliament to farewell Sir Michael.

“The officials in consultation with the Somare family had set the date of the 6th April for Sir Michael's statement to be presented in parliament followed by a small ceremony in the grounds of Parliament House.

“The proposed plan would have been a small ceremony beginning with a guard of honour and an assembly of students from different schools and singsing groups representing all our different provinces within the grounds of Parliament.

“Instead the Somare family has been advised by government officials that Parliament will rise tomorrow, 4th April 2017.

“As the Founding Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea and the longest serving Member of Parliament we feel the early closure of parliament is a slap in the face not just for Sir Michael but for the country in celebrating a milestone in the country's short political history.”

Tuesday will exactly be 49 years ago (April 4, 1968) that Sir Michael first entered the House of Assembly in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.

Also, this week, is the last sitting in this term of the ninth parliament of this country.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told Loop PNG that Tuesday will be the day Parliament will farewell Sir Michael and denied he was behind the cancellation of Sir Michael’s retirement farewell from politics.    

Charles Yapumi