The four prime ministers of the Pacific island nations led Australia’s independence and were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in February.
The first prime minister of Papua New Guinea, Michael Somare, announced his death last Friday at the age of 84.
Somare is known as the “father of the country”. He led the Pacific Islands to independence from Australia in 1975 and served as prime minister four times.
His daughter Betha Somare (Betha Somare) said in a statement that Somare was called the “chief” by his countrymen, and he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early February.
She said that many Papua New Guineans have embraced their fathers and become their own “fathers and grandfathers.”
Before independence, Somare was the chief minister of the Papua New Guinea territory administered by Australia. He most recently served as the country’s leader in 2011.
After 49 years as a member of Parliament, Somare only withdrew from politics in 2017.
The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea James Malaper said that the former leader has now freed himself from “pain and hardship.”
Malape said in a statement: “Our country respects this great leader, our founder and the longest-term Prime Minister.” He called on the country to maintain respect and maintain a week of silence, peace and calm.
“He is unparalleled among those who follow him,” he added.
“A good friend of Australia”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison wrote in a tweet on Friday that Somare is the founding father of democratic and independent Papua New Guinea and a “good friend” of Australia.
The death of Somalia also marked the end of the era of this extraordinary country. The country has more than 800 languages, countless tribal groups, and struggles with some of the highest poverty levels in the Asia-Pacific region.
Sir Michael Somare, chief chief of Vale, the founding father of democracy and independence #PNG Good friends with Australia. I extend my condolences to his family, Prime Minister Malappe and the people of Papua New Guinea. At this sad moment, Australians stand with you. May he rest in peace.
-Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) February 25, 2021
Sinclair Dinnen, a Pacific expert at the Australian National University in Canberra, told AFP: “He has always been an important person and an iconic figure in Papua New Guinea’s politics.”
“He has a position that no one else has. He is regarded as the father of independence. Some people attribute his influence to uniting this very difficult country in the post-independence period.”
Somare is not without controversy. He won the outrage of neighbouring Australia in 2006 when he ignored extradition requests from the then Attorney General of the Solomon Islands, Julian Moti, to face child sex charges.
He resigned at the end of 2010, so the leading court can hear allegations that he failed to file several annual financial statements in the 1990s.
After being convicted of official misconduct, he was eventually suspended for two weeks.
In April 2011, he took a long vacation and underwent several heart surgeries in Singapore. Then he was controversially dismissed because he was declared vacant due to his long absence due to his physical condition.
Papua New Guinea is a mountainous country with abundant resources and minerals, including oil, natural gas, gold and copper.
Linguistically speaking, it is one of the largest island economies in the South Pacific. Although it faces economic difficulties and internal conflicts, the most notable is that during the decade-long civil war in Bougainville, the island was capturing Life had previously claimed 20,000 lives by the end of 1998.