Farewell to Sir George Constantinou

By Emmanuel Narokobi

I was to have lunch today with Nick Constantinou, about rugby admin stuff and then the news came through yesterday afternoon that his father Sir George Constantinou was murdered by a group of rascals out at Gerehu. He was with an employee of his, on his way to a timber yard of theirs when the incident happened. The rascals tried to block him on the road and when he tried to swerve past them he hit a ditch and that was when he was attacked and killed. You can read more here.

Two and a half thousand years ago a Greek Philosopher Diogenes Laertius, when asked where he was from, simply replied ‘I am a citizen of the world‘. Today there are about a half a million Cypriots around the world and in PNG we had our very own Cypriot by the name of Sir George Constantinou. Arriving here in his teens and working in construction he started his own business in 1954 named Papuan Welders. Today at the age of 78 he has built an empire in his Constantinou Group of companies and without a doubt he has built half of Port Moresby. All our lives  are touched in one way or the other by his companies. Whether we are traveling on a road sealed by Hebou Constructions, enjoying a drink at Lamana Gold Club or sleeping at The Heritage Park Hotel in the Solomon Islands we are part of the legacy of a true business warrior who was a true nation builder. He may have come from Cyprus but he became a part of PNG and the pacific and he would certainly have made Diogenes proud.

It is a shame to us and the country that such a great man, who has given so much could be taken away in such a sad way. I’m angry and frustrated at the carelessness and lawlessness of the thugs involved. And again the question pops up why? Why do we still have to deal with this sort of shit and crap in our lives in PNG. The wise Diogenes had another quote which I want to draw on, and that is that, ‘The foundation of every state is the education of its youth’.

The education of our youth…a simple and true statement from a Greek that lived Two and a half thousand years ago. I have come to know Sir George’s son Nick fairly well in the last couple of years and when I see him and the way he has had to work hard to earn a place for himself in his fathers businesses, I see a young Sir George again. In fact I see the future, I see the legacy of a man who has obviously educated his son and all his children that it is through hard work that you get anywhere in life. It then becomes glaringly obvious that the parents of the 20 or so thugs that took away the life of Sir George had little or no education from their parents.

My sincere and heartfelt condolences to my friend Nick Constantinou and his family. May Sir George Rest in Peace.

NB:

BTW, 5 of the youth involved in the murder have been captured and are now at the Gerehu Police Station. They were brougt in by the Tete Settlement Coummunity. 6 more idetified are being looked for right now. Those involved are very young almost in their mid teens.

Update: 21/12/08

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Update: 16/01/09

Went to the Memorial Mass for Sir George today, which was held at the Don Bosco Church in Port Moresby.

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21 thoughts on “Farewell to Sir George Constantinou

  1. Words can’t express how shocked and angry I am. For someone who dedicated his entire life to PNG’s nation building to be killed by senseless cockroaches who kill and rob hardworking citizens of this country is unfathomable.

    May there be no Tete settlement ever again in that part of Gerehu. I hope the police or whoever it is in authority burn the whole place down to ashes before we continue to lose more innocent and prominent citizens of this country.

    May Sir George rest in eternal peace.

  2. I think PNG Government should seriously address the issue of settlements. Its a wake-up call of all those involved.

    Sir George touched our lives in many different ways…. we should all be grateful for him

    May he find rest!!

  3. re sir george story

    I was born in port moresby PNG

    sir george paid for and organised my parents wedding ( nick and manty dapontes ) in port moresby PNG.

    with out Sir George i would not have been born.

    i believe in eye for a eye .
    kill the bullies and cowards . change the laws and make tougher sentences to deter such senseless crimes
    the reality is sir george with his kind heart would have most likely given the robbers money if they had only asked in the proper manner.
    sir george was a good man a kind man .
    HE DID not deserve this .

    from
    alexis da pontes

  4. I just heard about this sad and terrible event. I did not get the chance to meet Sir George, but I heard a great deal of good things about him. A wake up call indeed. I do hope the government learns from this great loss. However, addressing the security situation is not the only step. These heinous acts are being committed by teens. Mere children. I can relate as the same things happen in the US where I am originally from. Gangs (our rascals) and gang violence take innocent lives every year in the major cities. It is a product of the system leaving people behind.

    Children need role models. They need someone to look up to. Someone they want to be. The rascals that commit these crimes are lost. They are cast away. Forgotten and left behind. Parents need to be responsible. Community leaders need to stand up. Young minds need guidance or they will be lost.

  5. The news of the tragic death of Sir George Constantinou has just been conveyed by one of his family members. I was involved in his ongoing medical care when he visited Brisbane. A sad loss to the communities of PNG where he was responsible for so much public work projects. He will be sadly missed by all his friends and family.

  6. Sir George R.I.P.
    Why did this happen to you? You were such a good man. We are all so shocked. This cant be real. A man that built his empire with his own two hands. A family man and a christian man. This is like Jesus’ crusifiction. So sad, bloody rascals go to hell :(

  7. I also met Sir George during medical care in hospital in Australia, he was always a fighter, motivated, and once said to me “i would give away everything i have to be in good health once again” – A very generous and caring man. What a horrible ending x

  8. like to express My condolences to the family….all I can said is Capital Punishment to who’s is responsible for it. The way is by Execution by shooting. The categorie will be enacted laws thats authorized punishment of first-degree murder by death.

  9. the day is over for all the family and relatives for sir George, now he is resting in peace, god bless him
    what png needs in my opinion after loosing the great man in this manner they need schools, with the schools they need teachers, i work in png and i am from the same original blood sir George come from!!
    I RECCOMEND EDUCATION TO ALL YOUNG KIDS OR GO TO ARMY!!!
    GOD BLES MY…. SIR GEORGE CONSTANTINOU

  10. Con profundo pesar nos unimos al duelo de la familia Constantinou ,por el sensible fallecimiento de SIR George Constantinou Familia Hutinel Flores

  11. re SIR GEORGE

    rest in peace Sir George
    you are safe now

    as for PNG I think it needs a department of families services . this way the government can take all children *( Misfits , rebels and ones not under parental control ) under 16 years old and put them in foster care preferrably with army type or even religiuous type families approved by the government .
    Also if the alleged killers were only so young how come they were not going to school ? were are these kids parents or leaders ? why are they attending school . ? why are their parents or leaders not charged with truancy ( for eg for not sending the children to school ). in australia you have to go to school until grade 10 or when you are 16 years old .
    I think PNG needs to get a department of families or DOCS set up ( LIKE they have in australia ) and also make tougher laws re truancy etc .

  12. Although i was never close to sir george i feel privalaged to be friends with his daughters, sons and relitives. From growing up with this beautiful family that he formed and the messages written by loved ones of his passing is only the start of how this man has changed lives.

  13. Sometimes we wonder why bad things happen to good people – again we lose another good person – as the saying goes, all things happen for a reason – we can only ask why? why? – only time will show us the purpose for the murder of SIR George Constantinou – a person , that for most, we never got to know personally, but simply marvel and admire the work that he has done to help our people, to add icing to our country –

    How many wakeup calls does PNG need to realise that something has to be done –
    It is true that it goes back to the home, the family unit – how we raise our kids – changing mind frames, attitudes, values, empowering…. and it comes back to how each individual can start to do something in their own way to help build a safer nation.

    As I am, so is my community, my organisation and my country!

    I don’t know if simply removing squatter settlements would be the right way to go – not too sure bout the Tete Settlement but some areas have been there for years and years.. there’s probably like 2 or 3 generations living there – to get people to go back to their respected villages, would be difficult – firstly for some, they would say that , the settlement is the only HOME they know..and it has always been…to destroy their homes also would live more people homeless and more neglected.
    Govt should monitor though and ensure that no new settlements start thriving…and control or assist someway in managing these existing settlements. Everyone needs the basic things:- shelter, food, water and most importantly:- Love, Hope, Faith & Education.

    RIP Sir George :- PNG Salutes you!!!

  14. I agree with Anita. Why werent these kids in school? Or was this planned. Did somebody pay for Sir George to die? OMG that sounds so sick. I dont know what life is like in PNG but in Australia, kids go to school, and if they dont they work. This is starting to smell fishy…… confused

  15. euxome ta silipitiria se oloi sou tin oikogenia
    gia mena eisoun o pragmatikos filos i apousia sou
    tha mas einai esthiti.
    aggelos Sofroniou Gold Goast

  16. Sir george i salute u ur such a good man with a big heart to help other people,,,, i meet u only once but i knw that wen you help my family in samar its ur own choice without any exchange in return, our family is so greatful to knw you better!!!!! May god be the center of ur good deeds to help others also thank you very much and god speed sir.

  17. Sir george its your Birthday today and I fondly remember you on this day you have been great source of inspiration atleast me while stint in Papua New Guinea.

    Happy Birthday , may your soul rest in peace.

    Vinod KAMATH

  18. What a great man…..RIP Sir George.

    My daughter share the same birthday as Sir George so when we celebrate the next one, I will surely remember you.

  19. We remember Sir George.

    We also remember other great Papua New Guineans, like Sir Ignatius Kilage, Sir Serei (Vincent) Eri, Sir Albert Maori Kiki ( a great Visionary) and ofcourse who can ever forget the formidable nationalist and Melanesian visionary in Bernard Narakobi!

    If Bernard had accepted those Kighthoods and other accolades, he would be Sir this and Grand that.

    Not so Bernard! A quiet and yet powerful man. A man who believed in his country, in his people, and in our own ways. A Man who refused to be dominated or subject his intellect and his spirit to the domination of other men, other races and other nations.

    Bernard would have been rich if he used and abused the many public offices he had held over the years. Yet he treasured his integrity and his simplicity and saw light and grace in that. He was and is a son of Papua New Guinea that had the favor of both men and God.

    Now Immanuel Narakobi has also been a visionary in his own way.

    The question today is, will he allow himself and his independent spirit to be dominated by other peoples? Will he subscribe to the independence of this site to be coopted for fear or favor- or even 30 pieces of silver by some PR company?

    Will there be any more truely free media left in PNG?

    Its up to you Manu.

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