Sir Rabbie, a great man: PNG PM Marape

The late Sir Rabbie Namaliu

Sir Rabbie Namaliu was a man of many accolades during his service to the people of Papua New Guinea, says Prime Minister James Marape.

At the State funeral held at Apec House Tuesday, Marape gave a heartfelt speech about the life of the former Prime Minister Sir Rabbie.

“The solemn responsibility has fallen on me to have presided over the passing of three former prime ministers of our country, all of whom have played very significant roles in the formative years of our country.

“They have all laid the foundational building blocks that have anchored and continue to anchor our unity and democracy. On this occasion, it is with great sadness and deepest of all condolences, that I want to convey our sincere and heartfelt sympathies to the children, family and the people of East New Britain on the passing of this great man, Sir Rabbie.

“He emerged from a simple missionary family into becoming an extraordinary Papua New Guinean,” Marape said.

He explained that Sir Rabbie would then go on to become one of the few pioneers of Papua New Guinea to study at the University of Papua New Guinea and then pursue postgraduate studies overseas.

“He was among the first students at the University of Papua New Guinea in 1966.

“He was the first chief of staff to the then first prime minister Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare.

“He was the key member of the Constitutional Planning Committee.

“He became our country’s fourth prime minister in 1988.

“He was made a member of the Her Majesty’s Privy Council (of the United Kingdom) in 1989. He held many portfolios and public offices from 1982 to 2007.

“And since then, has not contested or re-contested public office.

“We are giving respect to a Papua New Guinean giant, who helped the fathers of our country to ensure we achieved our sovereignty and nationhood,” Marape said.

“Sir Rabbie was an inspirational leader with strong Christian and Melanesian cultural influence that dictated his work and life of service to our country. He was a humble man.

“Sir Rabbie worked for the country faithfully and honestly. He, like Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare, lived simple and fulfilling lives after politics.

“He set his bar very high and kept his dignity, achieving much of what he set out to do.

“He entered and exited public life without fanfare and continued to work and offer useful contributions to his country.

“He is a wonderful example whom we all can learn from in all facets of life, so that we too, especially today’s generation and the generation that come after us, can learn from Sir Rabbie.

Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Paias Wingti says the country has lost a key player in the formation of the nation towards independence.

Wingti told The National in his tribute to Sir Rabbie Namaliu.

“Papua New Guinea has lost a very good man, he was part of this country’s history right from the beginning, from formation to independence,” he said.

He said Sir Rabbie was a key player in the group of Papua New Guineans that led the foundation of this nation.

“He played a very important role in our country when you look at self-government and independence and he was one of the pioneers with the group that built the image of the country,” he said.

He said Sir Rabbie was a personal adviser to political leaders at that time when Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare was chief minister.  

Wingti said Sir Rabbie was a champion and leader all the way, even when he joined the private sector, he continued to contribute in that space. “We both were in the Pangu Pati together in 1977 and I knew him for quite some time and he was honest, humble and took lead in many of the work to change the nation,” he said.