Western province mourns passing of former provincial speaker

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BY ALFRED PAGEPITU

GIZO

TRIBUTES are being paid to the Late Richard Morgan Tekifono who served as Speaker from 2014 to 2018 and elected as MPA for Ward 10 Irigila since 1998 to 2009 in Western province.

His funeral service was held at the Anglican Church of Melanesia (Saint Luke Church) in Gizo on Friday last week.

Members of the Provincial Assembly, relatives and friends, families from Gizo, Vella la Vella and Tikopia and surrounding islands attended the funeral service led by Rev Cn Eric Kolae.

Late Tekifono died on Thursday September 13, 2018 after a short illness at the Gizo Hospital.

Late Tekifono had served three terms for ward 10 and was the former Assembly Speaker.

MPA for Ward 18 South Rendova George Solingi Lilo speaking during the funeral said: “He passed away peacefully with his family. We would be grateful for our privacy to be respected at this difficult time.

“Late Tekifono was dedicated, public-spirited man who had a real care and concern for the Province, staffs, MPAs and the Western Provincial government. He was a good campaigner and both passionate about and proud of his people living in the province.

“He also had a great sense of humour. On a personal level, he was always very kind to everyone. I still remember in May of 2016, after the last Assembly, and just before I left for my campaign trail, being a very close friend, he read me a poem, to express his desire for the beauty of statehood once achieved. My deepest sympathies go out to his children and grandchildren.

He said Late Tekifono would be sorely missed.

“I knew him as a true friend, a dedicated MPA and a conscientious Speaker of the House of the province way back in 19’s until today.”

Many have taken to social media to offer their condolences.

Lilo said, “late Tekifono has equally left some significant landmarks with us, but I will only make mention of a few. The development of the new Anglican Church in Gizo was a collective effort by all under the leadership of the late Richard. In terms of politics, he more outspoken on Western Province’s agenda for statehood than any other MPA’s that I have known. He is very concerned with the Province’s Assembly Chamber, and I believe the good lord have decided to relive him from all these development issues as a token of challenge for the current and future leaders of this province.”

Richard Morgan Tekifono was born in Roafe, Tikopia, on April 18, 1957; he was the fourth child of six siblings.

Richard grew up a very traditional young and energetic person in his island home, Tikopia, and attended grade 1- grade 4 (1967-1970) at Tikopia Primary School, grade 5 to grade 6 (1971-1972) at Luasalemba Primary School, Santa Cruz and grade 7 (1973) at Marovovo Anglican Mission School on Guadalcanal.

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