It is with the greatest of sadness that the Autonomous Region of Bougainville joins the rest of the nation to mourn the loss of the Father of the country Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare.
The Late Sir Michael Somare has had a close relationship with Bougainville from the formative years of Papua New Guinea until our most recent history.
His association with Bougainville goes back to the days when PNG and Bougainville sought independence from our Australian colonial masters.
It was through this association that he forged a lifelong relationship with the people as well as our early leaders such as Sir Paul Lapun, Sir Donatus Mola, Raphael Bele and Grand Chief Dr. John Momis.
As President I pay tribute to Sir Michael’s contribution to the Bougainville Peace Process. During the tumultuous years of the Crisis Sir Michael played a pivotal role in the negotiations.
In 2002 when he reassumed the Prime Ministership he continued the work of his predecessor the Late Sir Mekere Morauta to implement the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
As Prime Minister, Sir Michael oversaw the formation of the Autonomous Bougainville Government in 2005.
The Late Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare was a pious man, a Christian man who upheld the values of devotion to God, Country and Family.
His lasting legacy was his ability to lead a nation of a thousand tribes and unify them under a common goal and that was freedom.
The freedom to express ourselves, the freedom to be masters of our own destiny and the freedom to be diversified yet unified as one nation under God.
On behalf of my family and the Autonomous Bougainville Government I would like to extend the sincerest condolences of the people and government of Bougainville to family of the Late Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare.
May God Almighty grant you solace in your time of bereavement.
You served this country faithfully and with love, now let you find eternal peace in the arms of your creator.
Hon. Ishmael Toroama MHR
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