BY TAVAKE SIMON HANA’ROA
THE 45th Independence Day Anniversary of Papua New Guinea celebrations in the Solomon Islands was possible this year despite the light of the pandemic.
At a home away from home, Papua New Guineans (PNG) living in Honiara today marked their country’s 45th Independence at the PNG’s High Commission Chancery compound in Town Ground, Honiara.
Despite it is just a small scale occasion compared to the past years, the hoisting of PNG’s flag was excluded from the official ceremony to marked the event. The Chancery Compound was tightly parked by the Papua New Guinea community including friends and families with all in their national colored shirts and blouses with beautiful PNG designs, singing their National Anthem and saying their pledge of allegiance.
In his Keynote address, PNG’s High Commissioner to Solomon Islands His Excellency (HE) Dr. John C Balavu thanked each and everyone that despite their other competing priorities they were able to find time to join the auspicious occasion to celebrate their 45th Independence anniversary.
He said it was on this day, 45 years ago that the people of Papua New Guinea began a journey as a free and sovereign nation.
“It was on this day 45 years ago when the Australian flag was lowered and PNG flag hoisted into the sky at Sir Hubert Murray Stadium.
“It was on this day, the people of Papua New Guinea began a journey as a free and sovereign nation inspire by the vision of our leaders,” HE John C Balavu said.
He further added that it is not every day that they get the opportunity to get together like this and encourage them to take heed of such an occasion to establish contacts, develop networking, and making new friends.
“It is not every day that we get the opportunity to get together like this, so while you have this opportunity I would encourage you to establish contact, develop networking, and make more friends. So next time you meet you would be able to greet each other by name,” High Commissioner Balavu said.
2020 has been a crucial year for the global village in the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected national occasions and huge gatherings.
For this sole reason, Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape had earlier denounced any large gathering to celebrate independence day anniversary across PNG.
President and Chairman of PNG/SI Association, Freeman Podarua had also assured those attending the event about the scale down of the event for this year.
“This year we have a scale down celebration as you would compare from past celebrations.
“This is because our Prime Minister a few weeks ago had said so, as he denounces any large or huge gatherings to commemorate our independence,” Mr. Podarua said.
HE Balavu acknowledged the kind and generous support of the president and his team in organizing this successful event.
He later encouraged the PNG/SI community to always work together.
“The resident High Commissioners will come and go when their time is up, but you will continue to hold the fort as permanent residents of this beautiful country.
“I would encourage you to work together, lift the name of the country of your birth and remain true to the adage that says, United WE Stand, Divided We Fall,” Balavu said.