Papua New Guinea’s first prime minister Sir Michael Somare’s casket laid in state at an unique sitting of parliament Thursday ahead of a series of funeral services for the precious “daddy of the country”.
Crowds lined Independence Boulevard in the capital Port Moresby, tossing flowers onto the passing motorcade bring the body of the “Grand Chief” as it approached parliament.
Somare, who passed away of pancreatic cancer late last month aged 84, led Papua New Guinea at independence from Australia in 1975 and was prime minister for a total of 17 years, throughout 3 separate terms.
Somare, who died of pancreatic cancer late last month aged 84, led Papua New Guinea at independence from Australia in 1975 AFP/ Andrew Kutan
” Somare united our leaders, and unified a thousand tribes to end up being a country called Papua New Guinea,” Chief Justice Sir Gibuma Gibbs Salika told parliament over the casket put in the centre of the chamber.
” You and I are to safeguard with our lives our PNG national identity with stability and respect,” he said.
2 weeks of memorial occasions for Somare have actually come amidst a surge of coronavirus infections in the poor Pacific country, with big crowds turning out to honour the political leader heightening concerns of a getting worse outbreak.
PNG has so far officially taped 1,741 cases of the infection and 21 deaths.
Two weeks of memorial events for Somare have come in the middle of a surge of coronavirus infections in the bad pacific nation AFP/ TORSTEN BLACKWOOD
However the variety of new infections has risen in the previous 2 weeks and, due to a low rate of screening, there are fears the virus is rapidly spreading out undetected through the population.
Earlier this week, a slew of brand-new restrictions were announced to attempt to include the spread, consisting of a ban on events of over 50 individuals.
But a state funeral on Friday is likely to draw crowds and hundreds of thousands are anticipated to participate in services Sunday in Somare’s house town of Wewak on the country’s east coast.
The head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of PNG, Glen Mola, informed Australia’s national broadcaster that healthcare facilities were seeing an uptick in favorable cases and required the big memorial occasions to be cancelled.
” We can’t have huge Haus Krai’s, since that’s simply a method of propagating the infection,” Mola said, describing standard mourning occasions.
He said several expectant moms were checking favorable to the infection daily and advised organisers to cancel Somare’s public funeral service.
” I’m sorry Grand Chief, I make sure you’re looking down on us … and you’re informing us to stop, please.”
” We need to start taking notification; otherwise, there will be chaos, and everybody will suffer extremely, extremely seriously.”