Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and his family treated DCC Government ministers and backbenchers and the staff of the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to a buffet dinner at the Cowboys Grill last Saturday, to celebrate the Prime Minister’s 60th birthday.
For about three hours, the Prime Minister was in the company of his senior Cabinet Ministers, political advisors and their wives and entertained by a local dancing group and local bands.
A brief account of the history of Prime Minister Sogavare read by the Special Secretary to the Prime Minister Rence Sore indicated he left school early due to financial problems and took up odd jobs before entering the public service.
However, a stint at the Consumers Cooperative Society will eventually lead to his appointment as the Commissioner of Inland Revenue in 1991 before he became the Permanent Secretary of Finance in 1993.
Mr Sogavare pursued his University degree in 1994 from the University of the South Pacific and obtained his Masters Degree from the University of Waikato in 2000.
One of the highlight of the occasion was a moving dedication speech by the Prime Minister’s own son, Brandt Sogavare.
When giving a speech on the occasion, the Prime Minister’s son credited their father for their sound upbringing in a stoutly Christian family.
“Without the Christian virtues that you have instilled in us, we would not be what we are now. We thank you for being a wonderful and loving father to us. You are kind in your reproach but generous in your love.”
Brandt was joined later by his sister Shannon Sogavare to sing a dedication and birthday song for their father.
Mr Sogavare who has spent his childhood days studying in Papua New Guinea said the experiences he gained during the 40 years he has worked for the government has taught him many things, and that things in life happen for a reason.
The Prime Minister said as a public servant, he also has his share of ups and downs as he started his public service career as an office clerk before moving up to become a Permanent Secretary.
He attributed his successes to God’s guidance and grace whom he said has been his source of strength and inspiration.
On his political life, Mr Sogavare said even though this is his third stint as the Prime Minister, he said the experiences during the country’s dark days of the ethnic unrest and his unseating as the Prime Minister in 2007 are stark reminders of the rigours of political life but the experiences stands to benefit him in the long run.
“I thank my former colleagues for moving a motion of no-confidence against my leadership in the past as these experiences only serve to mould and shape me to be a better person, for things happen for a reason, and for a better reason”, the Prime Minister said.
Mr Sogavare said some of his Cabinet ministers were once his political rivals but they have become matured statesmen who are keen on ensuring that the country is moving towards its development aspirations thus, the formation of the Democratic Coalition for Change government.
He said at 60 years old, he is a changed man and has thanked the members of his family for their patience and endurance in almost two decades of his political life.
– PM’s press secretariat