Wewak welcomes Sana

The casket of late Grand Chief Sir Michael touched down at Boram, Wewak this afternoon a little after 3.

East Sepik Governor Allan Bird led the delegation of provincial and national leaders, in receiving the casket of the late founding father.

Outside the airport carpark hundreds gathered to witness this momentous occasion. 

The people of Sepik cried as the ADF C27 aircraft landed and casket was carried out. 

A guard of honor was carried out by the PNG Defense Force.

Prime Minister James Marape, who travelled to Wewak aboard the Q400 aircraft, handed over casket of the late Grand Chief, to Governor Bird.

The people of Murik then performed ritual in welcoming late Sir Michael home, before his casket was transported to the hearse. 

The hearse was escorted by members of the disciplinary forces and hundreds of mourners, from Boram Airport to the Somare Stadium, for formalities. 

Thousand lined the stretch of road, waving PNG flags and provincial flags and weeping, as the hearse drove by.

When formalities began, Prime Minister James Marape made several announcements after thanking the people of East Sepik and the Greater Sepik region for sharing late Sir Michael with the rest of Papua New Guinea.

“Mi karim bel sore for all of Papua New Guinea kam lo Wewak. 

“Today mi laik pastaim tru tok sore lo Lady Veronica wantaim ol pikinini, Gavana Bird wantaim ol lida lo different levels. 

He said Sir Michael’s legacy will continue. 

“Em i klia olsem em i sevim kantri for 49 years. 

“Under my leadership or any other leaders into the future, we will honour the bones that remain here in East Sepik and there’ll be continual visit for National Government development aspirations for people of East Sepik and West Sepik,” the Prime Minister said. 

He also announced that the Somare Museum will become a significant national site, which cabinet has approved. 

“Long Mosbi bai mipla sanapim memorial tomb o ples matmat long Indipendens Hil, na soim osem Somare tu em i stap long Indipendens Hil, ples we em i apim flag blo yumi,” he said. 

“Mi laik anaunsim tu osem Cabinet mipla diklerim em osem em ‘Papa blo Kantri’ na displa nem na taitol em blong em, na em tasol.

“Bai nogad narapla man kisim displa nem.

Also, the title ‘Great Grand Chief’ will be conferred to him alone, and no other will receive that title. 

Following the formalities at the Somare Stadium, the casket was transported to late Sir Michael’s home at Valley lane on Wewak Hill, to overnight with Lady Veronica and his immediate family. 

Jemimah Sukbat