Lanissa Sirigoi greets Prince Andrew

PORT MORESBY - Milne Bay teenager Lanissa Sirigoi bowed, shook Prince Andrew’s hand and presented him a garland, as she welcomed the royal visitor to the country to open the Pacific Games.

Hundreds of people joined her at Jackson Airport to greet the prince who arrived from Singapore on Air Niugini’s Falcon 900 EX executive jet.

Protocol did not allow Sirigoi to put the garland on the royal guest, a tradition normally accorded to important guests.

But the Grade 9 student at Caritas Girls Technical Secondary School in Port Moresby was obviously excited to have been selected to greet the prince as he arrived to open the Pacific Games tomorrow evening at the Sir John Guise Stadium.

She told The National that she had been advised by Government officials to pass on the garland to an official after she had greeted him.

“As soon as the prince came out of the plane, I shook his hands and bowed, and the flower was taken from me by a Foreign Affairs official,” she said.

A Government official told The National yesterday protocol dictated that such garlanding tradition accorded to important visitors or guests was restricted in the case of royalty.

Prince Andrew arrived from Singapore on an Air Niugini executive jet flown by Captain Vincent Kipma from East Sepik.
Captain Kipma told The National that he and his crew were happy.

“My crew and I are part of a bigger team here at PX (Air Niugini),” he said.

“We share this joy with our employees and every Papua New Guinean. It’s moments like these that unite us. One people, one country.”

A 20-gun salute was fired by members of the Defence Force when Prince Andrew stepped out of the aircraft. Prince Andrew had opened the South Pacific Games when it was last held in Port Moresby in 1991.

He will today lay a wreath at the Bomana War Cemetery before visiting the Don Bosco Technological Institute. He is scheduled to meet acting Governor-General Theo Zurenuoc and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

Tomorrow, he will unveil a plaque at the Coronation Park and commission the Games Village at the University of PNG.

Later he will attend a garden party at the 14-Mile Adventure Park to meet the Queen’s Young Leaders Award winner and youths. On Sunday he will present medals to the winners of the triathlon event at Sir Hubert Murray Stadium.

He will present medals to the winners of the weightlifting competition at Sir John Guise Stadium. He returns to Singapore on Monday on the executive jet. [TheNational]
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