The former Regional Member for East New Britain, Grand Chief Damien Kereku, passed away at 6.30pm after a short illness at his home at Varzin, Gazelle District.
In extending his district’s condolences, Wong said: “The Late Grand Chief Damien Kereku was one of our pioneer leaders of East New Britain that had left his own legacy as a firebrand vocal representative on the floor of Parliament.
“I came to know the Late Grand Chief in his later years and enjoyed many conversations of the stories told about his feats and his political reflections. He had often spoken of his desire that East New Britain would be the province that must become the beacon of hope and structure for a better Papua New Guinea.
“He repeatedly quoted ‘provinces must be empowered and given shared responsibility by the central government to develop economically at their own pace’.
“I was absolutely amazed by the depth of knowledge and wisdom he portrayed about politics and disheartened to find out that we did not at the time document the great history of our past leaders. A history that our children now and into the future will not understand, about the hardships of this simple yet humble man who brought the masses together to fight for the people’s right to live the way they wanted to live.
“It’s people like Late Grand Chief Damien Kereku who spoke up for us so that today we can enjoy the freedom that we often take for granted.
“May God grant him rest in eternal peace.”
(Gazelle MP Jelta Wong, back-left, with ENB Governor Nakikus Konga, former PM Sir Michael Somare and the late Grand Chief Damien Kereku - Picture: Gazelle MP Facebook page)