The death of Sir Barry Holloway will be deeply regretted across Papua New Guinea, and especially in the Eastern Highlands province, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said today.
O’Neill said Sir Barry Holloway first arrived in PNG exactly 60 years ago – in 1953 – and he had served the nation, and the people, with dedication ever since.
|Sir Barry Holloway|
“He arrived in the then Territory of Papua New Guinea at the age of just 18 to serve as a patrol officer, initially on Bougainville, and then in a remote part of the Madang province,” he said.
“Sir Barry subsequently moved to the Eastern Highlands, and his association with the province continued right up until his sad passing.
“He was a genuine man of the people in every way, and when he sought election to represent the people he was successful, reflecting the wide support he enjoyed among the people.
“He served in the pre-Independence House of Assembly, and was Speaker of the House of Assembly between 1972 and Independence in 1975, when he was appointed to the first post-Independence Cabinet, headed by Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare."
O’Neill said Sir Barry held a number of senior portfolios including Finance and Education during his 20-year career as an MP.
O’Neill said Sir Barry was one of a group of overseas-born MPs who supported Sir Michael Somare to become the first Chief Minister, and then founding Prime Minister.
“At Independence he was one of the first to take up citizenship," he said.
“He had no hesitation in renouncing his Australian citizenship, and embracing the new nation of Papua New Guinea.”
O'Neill said Sir Barry continued to serve the community after he left Parliament.
In fact, he sought re-election to Parliament as recently as the 2012 national elections. He polled very strongly but was in the end unsuccessful.
“Sir Barry Holloway was passionate about rural development and education.
"He was campaigning for better services for the rural majority of Papua New Guineans until just a few weeks ago,” he said.
O’Neill said Sir Barry held strong views - views he did not always share, but at all times he respected Sir Barry’s passion for PNG.
“On behalf of the Government, and the people of the nation, I pay tribute to his long and distinguished service to Papua New Guinea, and I extend our deepest sympathy to his family, and his many, many friends,” he said.