I am deeply saddened to hear of the untimely passing of The Hon. Sam Akoitai who was a highly respected politician, unifier and peacemaker. He achieved more than most in his lifetime, being first elected to the 6th National Parliament for the Central Bougainville seat in the 1997 General Election.
Sam was a man of true grit, he was courageous and persevered particularly during the Bougainville crisis. As a man of compassion, strength of character and integrity, he is an enormous loss to both Bougainville and Papua New Guinea.
It brings some comfort knowing that Sam passed doing something he truly loved, which was speaking to his people and resolving issues at the source, which is a testament to his dedication to public service. He always led from the front like a true leader and died doing just that.
Sam’s commitment to peace-building and maintaining law and order on Bougainville was courageous, relentless and admirable. We shared many values and I shall miss his counsel and friendship.
Finally, I would like to send my deepest condolences to his family. May he rest in peace.
Sir Melchior Togolo