(source - Annual Report 2008)
I have been reading with much interest and sadness stories of the demise of some of Papua New Guinea's elites over the Christmas and New Year period.
Not a day has gone by without condolence messages in newspapers and funeral services at the Sione Kami Memorial & the St Joseph's Church in Port Moresby.
First was the death of Florence Bundu at age 54 - sporting personality and a daughter of Oro. Florence was a great advocate of using sportsmen & women to campaign against the growing endemic HIV/AIDS. She is survived by daughter Jenny, sons Jonathan & George, mother & sisters and brothers. Florence died from an asthma attack.
Then not long after was the passing of Nat Koleala - a pioneer pilot, recent chairman of the National Gaming Board and son of Enga. It was announced that Nat had passed away due to cancer. Nat was in his mid-50's.
A few days into the New Year and I was stunned to hear of the sudden death of 47- year-old Alphonse Lalaga from Buka, ABG. As far as I am aware, he was the first Papua New Guinean to manage a hotel overseas and was running the Holiday Inn in Suva. He had been there for several years and had collapsed and died one afternoon after returning from a walk. His body was brought here then a memorial service held in Port Moresby before a fond farewell to Buka.
The most notable passing is that of Henry Kila, also in his mid-50's. At the funeral service it was quite sad to see his mother mourning the passing of a well-loved son, not just of her, but of a country. The sea of sad faces of elites who had worked with him as well as enjoyed his company in social circles showed the loss of a man in his prime, who was committed to assisting the Central province people to harness the development changes to be brought about by the LNG project. Henry had died due to heart disease.