PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill and Sir Michael Somare yesterday shook hands and stood united in grief – at the funeral of a parliamentary colleague, The National reports.
Political differences were put aside as MPs from both sides of the warring factions farewelled the late Patrick Tammur in Port Moresby.
The Kokopo MP died last week after a long battle with diabetes.
MPs paid their tribute and viewed his body at the Grand Hall of Parliament. It was followed by a memorial service at the St Joseph Church in East Boroko.
O’Neill shook hands with Sir Michael and his son, Angoram MP Arthur Somare in a “funeral reconciliation”.
O’Neill was accompanied by his deputy Belden Namah, cabinet ministers, Speaker Jeffery Nape and deputy speaker Francis Marus.
Sir Michael and Arthur arrived with Ambunti-Dreikikir MP Tony Aimo, Southern Highlands Governor Anderson Agiru, Madang regional MP Sir Arnold Amet and Pomio MP Paul Tiensten.
The two factions sat side by side again at the funeral service at the St Joseph Catholic church in East Boroko.
Tammur’s body will be flown to Kokopo this morning where a traditional Tolai welcome with the Tumbuan-Dukduk ceremony is expected at the Tokua airport.
Tammur is survived by wife Salome and three children Oscar, Sophia and Theresa.
O’Neill joined Sir Michael and other leaders in paying tribute to the late MP.
“When he defeated Sir Rabbie Namaliu in the 2007 general election, he knew the challenges that lay ahead of him and the expectations of his people, were great,” O’Neill said.
“Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare recognised his pedigree and his potential and appointed him to his Cabinet in the former government.
“And the young man did not disappoint. He presided over a number of key policy changes in the information and communication technology arena, which now guide development in the industry.
“It is indeed a huge loss that this illness has cut short the life of this promising young leader.
“For his time of public service, however short, I thank his family and the people of Kokopo.
Sir Michael also conveyed his condolences to the family and the people of Kokopo.