FORMER Prime Minister, Sir Francis Billy Hilly, on Tuesday paid tribute to his old boss, Sir Peter Kenilorea, in Parliament during the state funeral.
Sir Peter, a statesman and the nation’s first Prime Minister, died at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) in Honiara last Thursday 25th February 2016, age 72.
Elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1976, he became Chief Minister and Prime Minister at independence in 1978, a position he held three times between then and 1986.
Governor General Sir Frank Kabui, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, Speaker Ajilon Nasio, diplomatic corps, government ministries and public yesterday paid their last respect to Sir Peter in a state funeral, before his body was taken to Rara, East Are’Are, Malaita province last night for burial.
Sir Francis said they joined the Legislative Assembly together in 1976 before Sir Peter became the Prime Minister in 1978 after the country had its own constitution.
He said Sir Peter was a strong man to lead the nation eventhough Independence was a new thing to Solomon Islands.
“There are alot of adjustments needed to be done on the constitution and responsibility needs to be made,” he said.
Sir Francis was the fourth Prime Minister from 18 June 1993 to 7 November 1994.
He represented the Ranogga/Simbo constituency in the National Parliament from 1976 to 1984, and has represented the constituency again since 1993.
Hilly has been Minister of Commerce, Industry and Employment since December 2007 until 2010.
Sir Francis said the momentum since the country gained independence broke down due to new government from time to time.
“We have new people, with new outlook and new thinking.
“Sometimes it is not necessary good for the country because things sometimes turn personal,” he added.
Sir Peter is survived by wife Margaret, his seven children, and a number of grand-children.
By EDDIE OSIFELO