Tributes to Sir Michael

Tributes and condolences from all over the world have been accorded to Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare since his passing on February 26, 2021.

Among them was the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles.

Prince Charles in his condolence message expressed profound sadness after learning of the death of late Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare.

He said having represented the Queen in his first visit to Papua New Guinea to witness PNG’s independence celebration in 1975, he knew what a remarkable role Sir Michael played in leading our people to attain independence, in ensuring his country’s democracy.

Prince Charles said the people of Papua New Guinea have lost a statesman who led international efforts to protect one of the planet’s most precious assets – our rainforests; and the wider Asia-Pacific community has lost a wise elder statesman.

He also mentioned that he has countless fond memories of meeting Sir Michael during his visits to Papua New Guinea over the past fifty-five years and, in particular, of his unending energy and dedication in pursuing peace and environmental sustainability.

Other Pacific leaders also sent condolences and paid tribute to Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare.

A memorial service was held in Fiji for late Sir Michael.

Fiji Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama said during the service that Fijians respected and admired the late Grand Chief, and join Papua New Guineans all over the world in love and gratitude for him.

He said the current challenges of COVID-19 make it impossible for them to travel to PNG to bid Sir Michael farewell; they not only celebrate his magnificent life and legacy, but live it as well.

In Vanuatu, a candlelight vigil was held at the MSG Secretariat headquarters on Friday night hosting the Melanesian communities in Port Vila to celebrate the life of the late Grand Chief, who was a founding father also of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

(Fijian delegates remembering Sir Michael at the Sacred Heart Cathedral, Suva)

Freddy Mou