In an official statement released last night, Prime Minister O'Neill praised Kamma's commitment to the peace process after years of conflict on Bougainville, saying the Member for South Bougainville (and Minister for Bougainville Affairs) served the people of PNG with ‘honour and distinction'.
‘He was committed to ensuring that peace on Bougainville is permanent, and I always appreciated his honesty and genuine nature… moving on is a complex challenge for which we need great minds and honest hearts, and Steven Kamma was both of these.
We will mourn his loss.'
Mr O'Neill recently gave himself the portfolio of Bougainville Affairs, taking over from Kamma, as he feels the autonomous region's upcoming referendum on possible independence is a ‘top priority'. The shuffle also saw William Duma move to public enterprise and state investment, Nixon Duban to transport and infrastructure, and Ben Micah to petroleum and energy, a key sector for PNG despite rapidly falling global commodity prices.
The Prime Minister expressed his sympathies to the family of Mr Kamma, saying ‘the Government of Papua New Guinea offers its deep condolences, while at the same time hope that you seek solace in his achievements.
Papua New Guinea has lost a truly remarkable leader.'