Mourners gather to welcome Basil, Maino caskets, Call for thorough probe into Basil’s death


“My son, my son, who is going to take care of me now, where will I get help, who is going to take care of me,” wails Cathy Basil, mother of Bulolo MP and Deputy Prime Minister Sam Basil as his casket was taken into the Jackson’s airport in Port Moresby last night from Lae.

A few metres away, Basil’s uncle, all covered in mud, was also sobbing, rolling on and tapping the pavement of the airport’s ceremonial car park. “My son, my son, my son…you have left papa,” he cried.

Beyond the carpark, the airport was packed with mourners, well wishers and the public, who has started turning up hours before the planned arrival of the casket at 3pm, but who had to stay on well into the night as late Basil’s flight out of Lae was delayed.

Before Basil’s casket was flown in by helicopter, a separate chartered flight brought in the body of his loyal close protection officer, First Constable Neil Maino, who died with him in the fatal crash last week.

He was escorted by Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu and Lae MP John Rosso.

A guard of honour by his colleagues from the Special Services Division welcomed his casket.

Not a dry eye as the wife, daughter and parents of First Constable Maino held his casket.

Silently walking behind the crowd, head heavily bandaged, was Sergeant Freddy Setu, who for the last time provided protection for his fallen colleague and his fallen leader.

First Constable Maino’s casket was taken to the family home via a full escort by his colleagues.

At 6.30pm, a cry went out as the helicopter carrying the casket of late Basil was sighted in the distance.

The cries of the Morobean mothers rang around the airport carpark for a man they regarded as son.

Men, women, and children rushed to the gates of the ceremonial car park to catch a better glimpse of proceedings.

The PNGDF provided a guard of honour as they removed his casket and slowly began the procession to the main car park where he was laid, as the acting United Labour Party leader and Rigo MP Lekwa Gure and Prime Minister James Marape remembered his life.

“My leader and friend, we will continue the legacy you have set,” Gure said to his late leader’s casket.

Marape was emotional also. “I just wish you were alive today, and we will honour you in passing as we honoured you in your life,” he said.

The executive government and National Parliament will give the honour the Deputy Prime Minister deserves.

“May his memory be an inspiration to all who knew him.”

Meanwhile, Morobean leaders have called on police to ensure a thorough investigation is carried out on the death of Deputy Prime Minister Sam Basil on Wednesday evening at Sumsum, Bulolo.

The call was made by Minister for National Planning and Monitoring and Finschhafen MP Rainbo Paita on behalf of all leaders from Morobe.

He told the Post-Courier that the appeal was made as doubts remained as to the circumstances of his passing.

“Our appeal to the National Government is that the investigation into the death and the incident has to be given serious attention to establish and remove all doubts as to the circumstances surrounding his untimely passing,” Paita said.

“Our call comes because given the special consideration because one; he holds the second senior position in this country and especially on the eve of this election.”

“Everyone is questioning what happened.

“Leaders from the province are appealing to expedite this investigation and take it as a serious investigation into the accident.

“We appeal because he is DPM and all protocol must be given to him to give peace to his family, Bulolo and Morobe,” he said