PAPUA New Guinea Law Society president Kerenga Kua has described the late Bernard Narokobi as a man who dedicated his entire life to the service of the rule of law.
“Every once in a while comes a man who expresses an ideology that gives an alternative way forward for a nation.
“For PNG, Mr Narokobi exposed the Melanesian Way as a doctrine and a path for developing PNG.”
Mr Kua said the Melanesian Way ideology was intended to enable PNG to forge its own unique path of development or as a compromise to blend the PNG ways, customs and practices into the western lifestyle, customs and practices.
“Dr Narokobi took that philosophy with him, even to the bench where he served as an acting judge for a short while and during that term he firmly held the view that there was an important role for our customary laws to play amongst the laws of this country,” he said.
“For instance, in one criminal case, he ordered the payment of pigs as adequate compensatory payment for a criminal offence (that judgment was set aside by the Supreme Court on appeal).
“This goes to prove his commitment to ensuring that the customs of this country were recognised and allowed to play an important role amongst the mostly Western-styled legislation and common law.
“It takes a man of courage and a high degree of intellect to be able to do that. It is to espouse a unique brand of philosophy and to defend and implement it too.
“Dr Narokobi was such a man,” Mr Kua said in a public statement yesterday.
He also said Dr Narokobi was one of the first Papua New Guinean lawyers who dedicated his life to the service of the rule of law.
“Dr Narokobi has set a very high level of moral, ethical and professional standard and all young lawyers should aspire to set such standards.
“His life will be an inspiration and a role model for lawyers for generations to come.
“Lawyers mourn his death and convey their heartfelt condolences to the children, grandchildren and relatives of the late Dr Narokobi, one of Papua New Guinea’s most distinguished lawyers.”