Bougainville Government News : First 100 days Achievements of Chief Secretary Joseph Nobetau

 ” The challenges that we face are immense. As Chief Secretary I am honoured to be able to serve Government and commit to maintaining the full degree of energy, integrity and direction required to help the Government achieve its objectives.

Whilst much has already been done, it is incumbent on all public servants, both senior and junior, to ensure we deliver the public services that all Bougainvilleans so richly deserve.

Challenges and Upcoming Priorities

Despite some achievements it is clear that much more needs to be done. Key priorities include:

  • Enhancing engagement to ensure a more joined up approach to Government service delivery;
  • Ensuring effective coordination of donor support so that we can maximize the value of existing international development assistance whilst harnessing new and emerging development opportunities;
  • Ensuring effective community engagement so that our people understand what it is that the Government is doing for them;
  • Ensuring that corporate plans are adhered to and remain reflective of Government objectives;
  • Ensuring that the BEC remains well supported and that submissions reflect whole-of-Government considerations and priorities;
  • Continuing work to undertake urban and town planning activities to enhance infrastructure and housing to address need;
  • Getting the new integrated financial management system in place to deliver more effective, transparent and accountable financial management practices across Government;
  • Continued work on the draw-down of powers to support autonomy;
  • Convening the Revenue and Taxation Summit; and
  • Ensuring that the Bougainville Referendum Commission is fully established and that important stakeholder and community engagement work commences.

Joseph Nobetau Chief Secretary ABG

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Media_Statement_-_Achievements_Joseph_Nobetau_Chief_Secretary_2017

Following my appointment to the Office of Chief Secretary on 17 October 2017, I have been engaged in a process of reform aimed at enhancing the capacity of the Department of President and the BEC and the broader public service.

As Chief Secretary I have engaged extensively with key stakeholders including Ministers, Secretaries, donors, the private sector and civil society. Through this work I have gained valuable insight into the workings of the public sector and the need for change and reform.

The purpose of this statement is to provide the general public with an update of the work that has been undertaken since my appointment, outline the challenges that I see moving forward and to canvass the priorities that are ahead.

Consultations

Ministers

Since commencing as Chief Secretary I have been able to meet with all Ministers. Through these discussions I have gained valuable insight into key ministerial priorities which has in turn informed my work with portfolio Secretaries and keystake holders. These discussions have been invaluable in informing my Department’s broader reform agenda and have assisted with some critical organisational change decisions.

Secretaries

As Chief Secretary I see it as an important part of my role to provide leadership and guidance to Secretaries. Since commencing as Chief Secretary I have convened Senior Management Committee meetings and met one on one with all Secretaries.

In my discussions I have emphasised the President’s key messages around organisational capability and the need to deliver meaningful outcomes with respect to service delivery and public service reform. These discussions have been positive, and whilst there will continue to be some challenges I will continue to ensure that all public servants remain mindful of their need to be accountable and responsive to Government and the people that we serve.

Parliamentary Services

As Chief Secretary I consider it essential that clear lines of communication be in place with the Office of Parliamentary Services. To that end, I have developed a strong working relationship with the Speaker of Parliament with a view to ensuring better links between the public service, the BEC and parliament.

This work is already showing dividends through more effective coordination of public service policy development and programme delivery and parliamentary business.

Community Government

I have been working with the Secretary for Community Government to make changes to Executive Manager arrangements to ensure more responsive community government across Districts. In that context, some immediate changes have already been made to realign resources so that we can better meet the needs of local communities. I will continue to work with the Secretary to ensure that resources at the District level are appropriate so as to enable effective community engagement and service delivery.

International Engagement

International engagement is a critical part of the Chief Secretary role. With significant donor representation in Buka I have reached out to key bilateral and multilateral partners to discuss how donor activities support the work of the ABG and to explore opportunities for more effective engagement and aid coordination. This has included my work as chair of the Australian and New Zealand funded GIF (Governance Implementation Fund) and work with the Australian Funded PNG Governance Facility.

Advisory Support and Donor Engagement

The ABG continues to receive support from a range of donors in relation to the key areas of governance, peace building, health, transport, law and justice and election support. As Chief Secretary I acknowledge the value of this support with a number of key advisers providing advice to my office and across government to progress important initiatives in areas including: recruitment, legal advice and support, draw down of powers, election preparations, media and communication, strategic and corporate planning, economic development, revenue and taxation, urban planning, monitoring and evaluation, financial management and strategic engagement. While in the longer term it is my hope that the ABG will develop the internal capacity to manage these important issues independent of donor support, the support we currently receive has been a critical part of our recent progress.

Aid Coordination

In terms of aid coordination, I continue to engage with key donors regarding how we can target support to get the best possible outcomes. I am of the view that any support must be clearly aligned with ABG priorities and be based on ensuring meaningful capacity building where ABG officers are able to learn from the support provided and manage issues independently in the future. A key future priority will be developing an effective aid coordination mechanism within my Department to ensure the most efficient use of donor support.

Bilateral and Multilateral Engagement

In February 2017 my office coordinated briefing for the visit by NZ Minister for Foreign Affairs the Hon. Murray McCully. The meeting provided a valuable opportunity to talk with a key development partner and friend, with the Foreign Minister committing to ongoing support to the ABG in the lead up to the referendum and beyond.

Vice President Masono hosted a visit by a delegation from the European Union which comprised of the EU Ambassador to PNG, the French Ambassador to PNG and senior officials on 20 February 2017. The visit provided a valuable opportunity to reinforce the ABG’s development priorities and for delegation members to see firsthand some of the challenges that face our young and emerging democracy.

Feedback from the visit was positive, with the EU Ambassador indicating a very strong desire to provide support to Bougainville in key areas including infrastructure, water sanitation and vocational education (amongst others). These are consistent with priorities identified through the PNG-EU dialogue and present opportunities for the ABG to partner with the EU in a number of short to medium term high impact areas. It is hoped that in the near future a delegation led by the Vice President will travel to Port Moresby to meet with senior National Government Officials and the EU Ambassador to explore how this commitment for support can be translated into meaningful action.

Community Engagement

At the community level I have engaged widely with non-Government and volunteer organisations and the education sector. I consider these stakeholders to be essential from a social development perspective.

In December I was honoured to be asked to deliver the keynote address at the Hutjena High School graduation. This was an excellent opportunity for me to deliver a key message on leadership and the value of quality education. My message was that as emerging leaders high school graduates are well placed to make a long term contribution to our economic, social and development goals.

In February I was honoured to speak at the Public Service Dedication Service. I used this as an opportunity to reinforce the need for a responsive public service, noting that planning is the cornerstone of success.

I continue to work with local mainline churches to progress aerial surveys of available land to enhance housing and community infrastructure. This work has included undertaking aerial surveys in Buka, Arawa and Buin to aid town planning, including the potential development of a teachers college in Buin and new housing development in Arawa and Buka.

Organisational Reform

Communication

Communication is the cornerstone of any well-functioning public service. As Chief Secretary my primary aim has been to enhance communication within Government and to our key stakeholders. I have achieved this by chairing Senior Management Committee meetings, engaging with Secretaries and senior leaders, connecting with Districts through radio programmes and working with our civil society partners.

This process is now starting to show results. Department Heads are becoming more engaged and my office has increased visibility of key public sector initiatives.

Despite this it is clear that much more needs to be done, particularly with respect to communicating initiatives to the broader community. In that context I am working with officials in my Department, including my Deputy Secretary, to enhance our media and communication strategy. Whilst there has been some good work in this area many of the initiatives that we need to enhance community awareness have stalled. With the referendum fast approaching this is not acceptable, and a key future priority will be to enhance mechanisms to more effectively communicate with the people.

Corporate Planning

A functional public service requires well thought out policy measures that respond to the needs of Government. This has been lacking in the past. It is clear to me that the public service must be more accountable and responsive.

To that end I have commenced a process to put in place departmental corporate plans. I see these documents as being key to addressing issues of accountability and ministerial expectations. By having in place well thought out plans that reflect Government and ministerial priorities the public service has a means by which to measure whether or not we are meeting core goals and responsibilities. It is my hope that these plans will be finalised in the coming month and that they will in turn help inform the development of a longer term strategic development plan that maps our key development priorities over the years to come.

Recruitment Processes

Open and merit based recruitment processes are an essential part of ensuring that we attract the best and brightest to our public service ranks. I have therefore taken a very close interest in recent recruitment rounds with a view to ensuring that the public service fully adheres to the principles of fair, open and transparent recruitment.

Retrenchments

In late 2016, in consultation with the Secretary for Personnel Management and Administration, arrangements were made to retire a number of officers who had reached the mandatory retirement age. This process was undertaken to ensure compliance with the Public Service Management Act and as part of a broader strategy of ensuring the appropriate resourcing of the public service in the longer term.

Senior leaders Training

As Chief Secretary I have participated in the Australian Government funded senior leaders training which is being conducted by the Queensland University of Technology. I see this training as being a valuable tool through which principles of management can be reinforced, whilst providing an ongoing opportunity for senior leaders to work closely with Ministers.

Overarching MoU on Draw Down of Powers

Work is currently underway to enable the signing of the overarching MoU on the draw-down of powers by the ABG and National Government Public Service Ministers. This will be a critical enabling step in achieving further autonomy.

Financial Management and Elimination of Corruption

Financial Management Systems

In line with the President and Government’s expectations I am heavily focused on financial management and accountability. As Chief Secretary I am conscious of my role in ensuring whole-of-Government financial accountability and working with the Secretary for Finance to enhance our financial management accountability frameworks. In particular, I am actively engaged in work to fast track implementation of the new Integrated Financial Management System within the ABG.

Revenue and Taxation Summit

For some time now it has been proposed that the ABG convene a Revenue and Taxation Summit to review existing revenue raising capacity and to explore means through which the ABG can enhance and consolidate our revenue base.

I am pleased to advise that work in the area is now progressing and that I am working with the Secretary of Finance to convene the summit in the coming months. The summit will provide an opportunity for key stakeholders and subject matter experts to convene.

Referendum Preparations

Bougainville Referendum Commission

On the 24th of January 2017 I travelled to Port Moresby to co-sign the enabling agreement with my national Government counterpart to establish the Bougainville Referendum Commission. The Commission will be an essential mechanism through which the operational management of the referendum will be conducted, and importantly, through which stakeholder and community engagement can occur. I am currently working with the Secretaries for Peace Agreement Implementation and Law and Justice to ensure that all constitutional and organic law requirements have been met prior to the final charter establishing the Commission being signed off by the Governor-General.

Challenges and Upcoming Priorities

Despite some achievements it is clear that much more needs to be done. Key priorities include:

  • Enhancing engagement to ensure a more joined up approach to Government service delivery;
  • Ensuring effective coordination of donor support so that we can maximize the value of existing international development assistance whilst harnessing new and emerging development opportunities;
  • Ensuring effective community engagement so that our people understand what it is that the Government is doing for them;
  • Ensuring that corporate plans are adhered to and remain reflective of Government objectives;
  • Ensuring that the BEC remains well supported and that submissions reflect whole-of-Government considerations and priorities;
  • Continuing work to undertake urban and town planning activities to enhance infrastructure and housing to address need;
  • Getting the new integrated financial management system in place to deliver more effective, transparent and accountable financial management practices across Government;
  • Continued work on the draw-down of powers to support autonomy;
  • Convening the Revenue and Taxation Summit; and
  • Ensuring that the Bougainville Referendum Commission is fully established and that important stakeholder and community engagement work commences.

 

 

 

Joseph Nobetau

Bougainville Mining News : President Momis announces support for the new Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL)

President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government Chief Dr John Momis has announced his support of the new Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) .

The new BCL is step away from the post-colonial and pre-crisis arrangement that had Bougainville at a disadvantage; it is partly owned by the Autonomous Bougainville Government, the National Government, Panguna Landowners and people of Bougainville to develop the defunct Panguna Mine with the landowners for the benefit of Bougainville.

President Momis said the ABG as regulator will work together and support BCL explore alternative Panguna development options that will accommodate the interest of project stakeholders to fast track the development of the Panguna resources.

“Since BCL was invited to formally re-engage in discussions in Bougainville in 2012, the landowners have consistently stated their preference to work with BCL as the developer,” Momis said.

This was recently reaffirmed by the nine (9) Landowner Associations in Buka on 23 February 2017 after the BCL team led by Chairman Rob Burns made presentations to the ABG leaders and the nince landowner association executives and representatives on the new BCL’s development proposal for Panguna.

During that visit the Chairman present to the ABG leaders and the landowners a staed development proposal outlining how different the new Panguna approach will be under the new BCL hich now owned by the ABG, the Panguna landowners, people of Bougainville and the National Government.

Due to the recent majority of shares transferred by the Rio Tinto to ABG and the National Government, the ABG and the landowners now view BCL as not the devil we know but the devil we won.

The ABG and the landowners will now have to take advantage of this scenario and work out a positive strategy for an outcome that will be equitably beneficial for all stakeholders especially the landowners.

The ABG and the landowners have also committed to addressing the immediate challenges to progressing the Panguna project and looks forward to working in partnership with BCL through the project development cycle.

During discussions held this week between the BCL and the ABG, the two parties reaffirmed their commitment in which a way forward can be agreed for the immediate addressing of stage 0- Removing impediments under the BCL proposed staged development proposal presented during 23 – 24 February visit.

In those discussions it was also mentioned for BCL’s consideration to find ways and opportunities in its exploration to project development financing phase to support the ABG’s immediate development agendas as a way of building a long term unwavering development in Panguna.

 

#Bougainville #PNG Peace Agreement : Momis announces a new realignment of a ministry to implementing the #BPA

“The peace agreement, as we already know, the national government has broken many times,

We are the only autonomous region of Papua New Guinea that gives us a great advantage. The Constitution recognizes this… whether the current government recognizes this or not, it doesn’t matter.”

I urge Good Governance to prevail and the rule of law be practiced and maintained. “

President Grand Chief Dr John Momis has announced a new realignment of a ministry responsible in implementing the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

Photo above :Bougainville 24

The people of Bougainville people celebrated a major milestone on 30 August 2016 with the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA).

The 2001 BPA signing signified peace, reconciliation and unity for all Bougainvilleans and was an emotional moment that people longed to witness after more than ten years of bloodshed.

During this 2001 signing, the Bougainville people, the Bougainville government and Papua New Guinea Government agreed on terms and conditions they would follow in order to achieve lasting peace, development and, eventually, referendum.

By Tanya Lahies ABG website Media

Momis said that the new ministry, which will be responsible for all referendum information, is the Ministry for the implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA) with the new minister Albert Punghau.

Albert Punghau has replaced the former Patrick Nisira who resigned to contest the national elections in Papua New Guinea.

The BPA- a joint creation between the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and the Government of Papua New Guinea (GoPNG) in August 30 2001- is still being ignored by the GoPNG as a peace winning solution during the Bougainville crisis.

Despite of the countless efforts by the first government and second government of ARoB to gain a solid commitment from the GoPNG to fast implement key pillars of the BPA- Autonomy, Referendum and Good Governance- ABG still struggles with funding that is becoming an inevitable impediment.

Since the first government in 2005, ABG still has yet to draw down many more important powers from the national government.

“The peace agreement, as we already know, the national government has broken many times,” Momis said.

Regardless of the many challenges faced by ABG when confronting the national government to commit, Momis is calling for the people of Bougainville to follow the laws of the BPA and leave the final judgment to the peace building organization, United Nations and the international communities to make their own assessment.

The key pillars of the BPA are Autonomy; Referendum; Weapons Disposal and Good Governance.

The PNG Constitution recognizes Bougainville as the only region in Papua New Guinea to have a government that has an autonomous power making the region more powerful than the provincial governments.

The PNG Constitution also recognizes Referendum to take place in the region. However, the United Nations has reported that the region was not ready for 2019, June 15, come the vote for Bougainville’s political future.

This was revealed by Momis who confirmed that Bougainville was not ready but he is optimistic about the future and urged for every Bougainvillean to be ready.

Momis urged for weapons disposal to be effective before the referendum date and as the period becomes very sensitive, the President is calling for everyone to commit their lives and remove the weapons and prove to be working together in peace and unity and moving ahead.

“We are the only autonomous region of Papua New Guinea that gives us a great advantage. The Constitution recognizes this… whether the current government recognizes this or not, it doesn’t matter.”

Momis also urged for ‘Good Governance’ to prevail and the rule of law be practiced and maintained.

It is the President’s dream to see the government return back to what it used to be like before when it was the North Solomon Provincial Government and a model government in the 1990s before the crisis.

ABG is still trying to set up a task force to clean corruption, he added.

Momis reiterated that the outcome of the referendum would be a final negotiation between both governments having in mind that peace and stability was essential for a successful outcome.

Bougainville Investment News : “We the people own the resources ” Momis promotes investment

 “We the people own the resources, our land however we don’t have the capital.

“The waves of globalization are at our shore , I urge everyone to become part of the worldwide community of globalization.

President Grand Chief Dr John Momis welcomes any interested credible foreign investors who wish to play a pivotal role in the development of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville’s economic growth.

By Tanya Lahies ABG Media

It is becoming a growing concern for the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) to seek ways to grow its economy thus, becoming a self-reliant region.

See previous Bougainville News :

Bougainville Mining News : BCL proposes a re-opening mine start up by 2020

The ABG is currently working on an ad-hoc basis to run the nation’s affairs without the needed funding required from the Government of Papua New Guinea (GoPNG) as per the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA) to restore the region according to the dreams and aspiration of the government.

President Momis explained that the government had plans it would like to see prosper through the Economic Ministry which had an important role to implement important activities.

However, due to no funding from ABG, the region was dependant on funds from the National Government through the Restoration Development Grants; Fisheries; DSIP and PSIP.

Bougainville, functions differently from the GoPNG and Provincial Governments. Many of its functions are governed by the BPA and the National Government has still yet to recognize that.

Momis said that becoming a self-reliant region means, that money received from the national government can recover the economy of the region and that it is able to be independent financially, thus become fiscal self reliant however, to date, there is no funding.

But if we continue to depend on the GoPNG finance, then we are not fiscal self reliant said Momis.

As time becomes another pressing concern, Momis is calling for all Bougainvilleans to be true patriots and be part of the spirit of economic growth by working with the government. “We the people own the resources, our land however we don’t have the capital.”

“The waves of globalization are at our shore.” Momis urged for everyone to become part of the worldwide community of globalization.

The ABG is now leaning towards promoting investment and working with credible Investors who can bring in capital based on good understanding and agreement that can benefit both the ABG and the people thus, can create capital that is very essential at the moment.

Law and order is an impediment to encouraging good investors but we can overcome and find a way to overcome it, Momis added.

Another issue that needed the attention of the people was the paying of tax by business operators. Momis also urged for all business houses in the region to pay their tax, as it was an important contribution towards building economy.

The Ministry of Economy will now work on creating a new policy that would benefit the people in rural areas therefore helping people to create their own economy.

Bougainville Mining News : BCL proposes a re-opening mine start up by 2020

panguna

  ” Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL), under a new regime, is keen on re-opening the Panguna mine with promises of more equitable sharing of wealth with landowners and the Autonomous Bougainville Government.

Company chairman Robert Burns was in Buka last week and met with Bougainville cabinet ministers and landowner groups to put forward BCL’s proposals for start-up by year 2020.”

Panguna talks re-open Source: Post Courier
Date: March 01,2017, 01:39 am BY SEBASTIAN HAKALITS Image Axel Mosi

According to BCL’s proposals on full operations from 2020 and beyond, it will inject US$350 million (K1 billion) a year to the Bougainville Government.

BCL has projected to pay about US$25 million (about K70 million a year) to the nine landowner associations to distribute among themselves.

The details of the BCL forward plans for Panguna were made at a presentation by the company recently.

BCL operated the Panguna mine for 18 years as a subsidiary company of Rio Tinto until it was shut down by the infamous Bougainville crisis from 1988 to 1999.

But the company was under a new regime after Rio Tinto left and during the process, off-loaded its majority of 53 per cent shares, of which a majority of 36 per cent belongs to Bougainvilleans, to the ABG.

The National Government owns 19 per cent, Panguna landowners 17 per cent and the rest other shareholders in Europe.

Mr Burns said in his presentation that BCL would engage with the ABG and landowners to fast-track and remove the impending issues to “create something very special for Bougainville”.

He said the company was ready and very much interested and committed to access Panguna and carry out the activities of feasibility and environmental studies before re-developing the mine. But he insisted that the ABG must support the company in its endeavours to remove any impediments so that it can have easy access to the Panguna mine area.

Article 2

Source: Post Courier
Date: March 01,2017, 01:39 am

BY SEBASTIAN HAKALITS

BOUGAINVILLE Minister for Minerals and Energy Resources Robin Wilson says Panguna mine is the single largest project that can move Bougainville forward.

Mr Wilson said it would ease financial hardships for landowners of Panguna and Bougainville, therefore, it was in their interest to re-open the mine. He was speaking during the presentation by Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) of its future plans for Panguna mine. Mr Wilson urged the landowners re-open, adding. “you have the veto power and whatever decision you make must be for the good of the whole of Bougainville”.

“Let’s have one voice and move forward,” Mr Wilson said at the BCL presentation that was later graced with the initial payment of K5 million to two landowner associations in outstanding 1989 to 1990 compensation payments.

The other seven groups will be paid after completing the compiling and verifying names of families. They will be

Comments

Peter Quodling

With all due respect to the original author Article 1 above

there is a glaring technical inaccuracy in this.

Firstly, There was no “new Regime” at RIO that saw it divest it’s sharing holding.

Secondly, it didn’t “offload” them, it gifted them equally between GovPNG and ABG. and 36% is not a majority.

Thirdly the statement “The National Government owns 19 per cent, Panguna landowners 17 per cent and the rest other shareholders in Europe.” is wrong – the national government no longer owns just the 19% it was originally gifted, It now owns 36.4% of the BCL Shareholding, exactly the same as the ABG.

Fourthly, The Panguna Landowners do not own 17% at all (there might be some residual token individual shareholdings),

Fifthly. “the rest other shareholders in Europe” – well, that is just as wrong – while there are some vocal European shareholders that made some speculative investments in BCL stock, they certainly do not comprise the “rest” in fact, in the top 20 shareholders (a matter of public record) the lion’s share are institutional investors (JP Morgan, Citicorp, HSBC, ABN-AMRO), with the only significant European holding being a german chap, with a shareholding of about 1.1M shares (or 0.29% of the total)

There are issues in relation to the ownership/equity and operation of mining operations that could be structured to give the people (and government) of bougainville significant leverage moving forward in this. I have offered (through channels) to consult to Pres Momis on this, but he chooses to ignore.

Bougainville News : Tribute at the State Funeral for Sir Michael Ogio, GCL, GCMG, KStJ

from

 ” In the annals of Bougainville’s recent history, Sir Michael’s name will always be etched with and alongside other political leaders of Bougainville as a peace maker, a peace broker, a stabiliser, the one leader who always displayed conciliatory traits and tendencies.+

STATE FUNERAL

The Late Governor General of Papua New Guinea

His Excellency Grand Chief

Sir Michael Ogio, GCL, GCMG, KStJ

Speech and Tribute by the Speaker of Bougainville House of Representatives Simon Pentanu

(St Mary’s Cathedral Port Moresby)

Picture above from funeral program cover

Updated 25 Febuary

Arrival of HE GG the late Sir Michael Ogio’s remains at AROB’s Buka airport.

A contingent of AROB’s disciplined forces and school children provide welcoming guarded entrance as the casket is carried to a welcome by ABG’s dignitaries. 25|02|17

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After the welcome ceremony at Buka airport HE GG the late Sir Michael Ogio’s casket was brought and laid in the Bougainville House of Representatives where the Vice President Hon Raymond Masono MHR led the tributes. Several other members also paid their tributes including AROB MPs in the PNG National Parliament.

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Speech and Tribute by the Speaker of Bougainville

House of Representatives Simon Pentanu

We are gathered at this solemn service this morning to pay respect and tribute to an amazing man whose public service to his country and to his province and region, I can honestly say, was only surpassed by his humility, friendship and his moderating influence to achieve a fair outcome by everyone he came across in his lifetime.

From the rural beginnings in his hamlet in the hills of Tinputz in North Bougainville this former teacher, schools inspector, provincial and national politician found his way up the ranks to become Governor General in a country that is diverse in language, culture, tradition and its people.

The late Sir Michael Ogio was elected the ninth Governor General by the National Parliament in January 2011. At the time he was a serving member of the National Parliament representing North Bougainville open seat.

In a proud line of elderly and mature, seasoned and experienced politicians that have represented Bougainville, Sir Michael will be remembered well by his constituents for his decision to vacate his seat and to be popularly elected by the National Parliament. He may have thought it better to continue serving his people as their member. However, he chose a higher calling and a higher national duty to serve the country.

The election of Sir Michael as Governor General at the time is an occasion that made many Bougainville leaders and the people of Bougainville very happy.

First of all he was the first Bougainvillean. He was one them.

Secondly, because of his election there was a lot of renewed respect in Bougainville for the process of election of the Governor General by the National Parliament.

The life story of Sir Michael Ogio is the story of a man who gave and who spent his life serving the people and the country he knew and loved. He never stopped serving until the very final days in office as Governor General.

His story also represents a generation of people that gave meaning to public service, giving of themselves and their whole life to the service of the people. Sir Michael had a firm conviction and worked and lived true to the belief that there is no higher calling in terms of career than serving the public to make a difference in people’s lives. When we look back at the service of such men of Sir Michael’s generation they make it seem so clear that public service, especially in a developing country like ours, is a privilege. It is a privilege based on the moral foundations that we should value and espouse at all times.

The Office of Governor General has served this country well. The Vice Regal Office served so far by men of such mettle, calibre and dignity of Sir Michael Ogio and the eight Governors General before him have served Papua New Guinea with honour and dignity.

The Office has become an enduring and respected institution like an asterisk in the context of our democracy in this country. It has not been influenced or mauled by party political leniencies despite the fact that the Governor General is elected solely by the Parliament. Once the Parliament makes its choice the person that holds the office is not identified for whatever purpose with any party or any part or region of the country. Our constitutional fathers will be happy to acknowledge that the constitutional provision and protection of the Office is working well.

There have been mainly two observations, often both criticisms and support from sectors of the public, which emerge from time to time in respect of the roles and responsibilities of the Governor General. We often hear how and why it is important that in the parliamentary democracy and system of government we have adopted it is important to have and guard the ceremonial roles and functions of the Head of State.

The Head of State epitomises, personifies and symbolises the State its power and authority that we must treasure. This is why it is important if we have political milieus and spoils in the political governance of the country the Office of the Governor as Head of State must be zealously guarded and protected. To do this, the experience and wisdom of whoever is in office is called to the fore. I believe that Sir Michael Ogio and others before him when called to face up to the challenges have been able to call upon their experiences in public life, including in political life, combined with their wisdom and maturity as elders in our society, to be steadfast in upholding the Office.

We also hear from time to time how some sectors of the public view that the Head of State be endowed with more power, even the power to hold the government of the day to account. This view is borne out of either ignorance or misunderstanding of the roles and functions of the Office of the Governor as head of state assigned and provisioned by the constitution.

I make these remarks to illustrate the late Sir Michael Ogio has had to deal with these scenarios, as did his predecessors to varying degrees. In making these remarks I also pay tribute to Sir Michael Ogio in particular and to other Governors General in general for living up to the callings of the Office every time. It also supports that the election of the Governor General by the National Parliament is the most appropriate way how these wise and elder men are selected through the most exhaustive secret ballot.

The people of Bougainville are saddened by the loss of Sir Michael. Sir Michael was many things to many people. He was held in high esteem as a community leader in his community in Tinputz. He was a peace maker, a moderate in the midst of inflexible, hard line voices. He always wanted to balance things out so that the outcome for all parties is a win-win situation. He was a friend to everybody, a jovial one who liked to listen to everyone that had something important to say.

Sir Michael didn’t buckle under pressure, whether it is the normal pressures at work or at home or the worst life threatening pressures that he had to deal with in some of the darkest hours in Bougainville when he was serving his people in Parliament. He always acted the part of a Bougainvillean that spoke to people saying that Bougainvilleans are very reasonable people. He believed that even in the worst of times when all seems lost there are voices of reason we must muster and listen to ourselves. And that in the rough and tumble of politics there is always a time to be humble, to show humility and to be reasonable human beings.

In the annals of Bougainville’s recent history, Sir Michael’s name will always be etched with and alongside other political leaders of Bougainville as a peace maker, a peace broker, a stabiliser, the one leader who always displayed conciliatory traits and tendencies. He had a moderating influence during the peace negotiations and peace process where these took place among the different factions in Bougainville and offshore and in meetings with the National Government.

Sir Michael followed through his belief and convictions with other leaders that the only way to peace is a negotiated settlement. That in choosing leaders to carry through with the Bougainville Peace Process a choice through the ballot was preferable to the bullet. That reconciliation was far and away better than confrontation.

Bougainville still elects four members to the National Parliament. It is because of both the participation and intervention of collective leadership which has included a very important contribution of leaders like Sir Michael Ogio that Bougainville still maintains its representation in the PNG National Parliament.

The people who will miss Sir Michael Ogio most are of course his close family and relatives. The other people that are still mourning his passing away and will also miss him are the people from the electorate of North Bougainville. They have continually stood by him because they have continued to return him as their Member in Parliament up to the time when he was appointed Governor General.

I am at this funeral service with a delegation of three Members of the Bougainville House of Representatives. The delegation and representation I lead includes the Minister for Education the Hon Thomas Pataaku and two senior parliamentarians, Hon Ezekiel Massat who is chairman of PAC and Hon Joseph Watawi, chairman of our parliamentary committee on referendum.

May I finally express on behalf of the President, Hon Dr John Momis and the Bougainville Executive Council, on behalf of all Members of the Bougainville Parliament and on behalf of the Bougainville people our deepest gratitude and appreciation to the National Parliament, to the Prime Minister and the National Government and to the rest of the people in this country for the honour and privilege in bestowing the honour to a Bougainvillean, Sir Michael Ogio to hold and serve in the highest Office in the land as Governor General. We know he has lived up to his pledges in office and has not let anyone down. He has served his term right to the final days.

The President and the People of Bougainville will receive the late Governor General Sir Michael Ogio in Buka today (26 Feb )  and many people will accompany him to his community and village in Tinputz where will be finally laid to rest on Sunday afternoon.

We offer and extend our sincerest condolences to Lady Esmie and the family.

May his soul rest in eternal peace.

 

Bougainville News : Raymond Masono appointed new Vice President of Bougainville

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 ” The ABG Minister for Public Service, Raymond Masono has been appointed as the new Vice President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government following the resignation of Patrick Nisira.”

Pic 1 Above Caption: (L-R) Chief Secretary to ABG, Joseph Nobetau, new ABG Vice President Raymond Masono, ABG President Chief Dr John Momis, outgoing Vice President Patrick Nisira

Mr Masono was sworn in as Vice President by Chief Magistrate Bruce Tasikul after being appointed by ABG President Chief Dr John Momis.

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Pic 2 Caption: New ABG Vice President Masono sworn in by Chief Magistrate Bruce Tasikul while Cheif Secretary to ABG Joseph Nobetau looks on.

The decision to appoint Masono came after the incumbent, Nisira had made his decision to resign the VP’s post and contest the 2017 National General Election.

SEE STORY BELOW

Mr Masono is from the Carteret’s Island and is a first term MP in the ABG and the Member for the Atolls Constituency and Minister for Public Service.

Prior to his entry into politics Masono had a distinguished career in the Bougainville Public Service and held several senior positions; including Acting Chief Administrator, Deputy Chief Administrator Policy and Director for Panguna Negotiations.

“I want to express my sincere gratitude on behalf of the Atolls people for the President’s confidence in appointing me as his new Vice President,” Masono said.

“I accept this appointment with great humility, for me personally it is a great honour to serve as the Vice President of one of the founding fathers of this nation and I want to assure the President and the people of Bougainville of my undivided loyalty and continued support to the President and ABG,” Masono said.

“I undertake to do my very best to support the President and the government to ensure that ABG’s key objectives on economic recovery, infrastructure development and law and order are realised with limited available resources,” he added.

Masono also paid tribute to his predecessor for his immense contribution to the ABG since he first became a member in 2005 and eventually Vice President in 2010.

Masono wished Nisira well on his aspirations in the National Elections and congratulated him on taking the Bougainville issue to the next level which is the National Parliament of PNG.

Apart from Masono assuming the responsibilities of the Vice President he also retained his ministry as Minister for Public Service.

President Momis also announced a reshuffle in his cabinet, the ABG Finance Minister Albert Punghau has now been appointed the Minister for Implementation of Bougainville Peace Agreement formerly Ministry of Referendum, Peace and Veterans Affairs that was held by the outgoing Vice President, Patrick Nisira.

For the time being President Momis has assumed the role of Minister for Finance and Treasury until such time as he announces a full cabinet reshuffle.

Momis on Nisira Resignation

Outgoing ABG Vice President Patrick Nisira has been described as a creative thinker and pragmatic leader who did a lot for his constituents and the people of Bougainville.

ABG President Chief Dr John Momis made these remarks during the swearing in ceremony of the new Vice President Raymond Masono.

Nisira was first appointed as Vice President in the first Momis administration in 2010 and then again in 2015 during the last ABG elections.

“For a young man he showed maturity and great concern for his people and he was a very good member of the Bougainville Executive Council,” President Momis said.

“He was not a populist leader but he led by example and made his decisions in government as a matter of principle,” Momis said.

“I must say forthwith that I did not make a mistake when I first appointed Mr Nisira as my Vice President, his contributions to the ABG especially his commitment to the executive government and to the formulation of new laws and policies such as the ABG Mining Act where he was a strong advocate for landowner rights and of recent as Minister for Referendum,” Momis said.

“The next journey that Mr Nisira embarks on is not one that will abandon us, no he is strategically repositioning himself to further the Bougainville agenda and ensure that the dreams of the people of Bougainville are realised,” he said.

“Our vision is to create a new nation whether an independent nation or a nation within a nation and create policies on economic development, infrastructure development and qualitative change for our people,” Momis reminded Mr Nisira.

Mr Nisira also thanked President Momis for having the confidence in him and appointing him as Vice President in both his administrations.

“It has been a privilege for me as a young man to have served under one of Bougainville’s and PNG’s greatest leaders and I consider President Momis to be my political mentor,” Nisira said.

Nisira also urged the ABG Ministers and Members not to lose focus on the journey that Bougainville is heading towards and that is achieving a definitive political solution to Bougainville’s future.

“Please continue to continue to concentrate to on the aim of the ABG which is to empower Bougainvilleans to manage their own affairs, solve their own problems and work hard to realise our people’s aspirations,” he said.

Nisira will remain as the Member of the Halia Constituency until he formally resigns from the Bougainville House of Representatives.

 

Ends////

Bougainville #RIP News : Sir Michael Ogio served #Bougainville #PNG with pride, honour, dignity and distinction

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 ” It is with a heavy heart that leaders and people of Bougainville, especially those of us who  knew him, received the news of the passing away of the former  Governor General Sir Michael Ogio.

He was strong, committed and stoic public figure whose contribution to Bougainville and the country is well known and widely acknowledged.

He passed away serving to the last.”

STATEMENT AUTHORISED BY THE SPEAKER OF THE BOUGAINVILLE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES HON SIMON PENTANU

See Below 1. Chief Dr. John L. Momis, MHR, GCL President

See Below 2 The Prime Minster, Peter O’Neill, has released the following statement in the passing of H.E. Sir Michael Ogio, GCMG CBE.

Sir Michael Ogio’s life is a story of selfless public service deserving of praise by all Bougainvilleans and the rest of the country.

The PNG National Parliament chose him to be the Head of State, a Vice Regal, representing Her Majesty the Queens in PNG. He was good, suitably qualified choice.

His own clan chieftain status in his society in Bougainville, his personal humility and his immense knowledge and understanding of the country, the nation and the people made him a good choice as Governor General.

The Bougainville House of Representatives and its Members express and extend our sincere condolences to Lady Esmie Ogio for her loss at this difficult time especially so soon after the end of Sir Michael’s term as Governor general.

The ABG joins his family, his people and the whole country in remembering and celebrating Sir Michel’s lifetime.

momis-welcomes-ogio

Pic Above Caption: President Chief Dr John Momis welcomes the Late Governor General Sir Michael Ogio on his first official visit to Bougainville as Viceregal in 2011 for the 6th Anniversary of the formation of the Autonomous Bougainville Government. The trip was the Sir Michael’s only official trip that he ever made to Bougainville in his capacity as Governor General. Pic Courtesy of Bougainville Tourism Website

CONDOLENCE MESSAGE From the President

It is with the greatest of sadness that I mourn with the rest of Bougainville the passing of one of this nation’s finest statesmen in the Late Governor General His Excellency Sir Michael Ogio.

The Late Sir Michael Ogio served this nation and the people of Bougainville with commitment and great distinction. His long career began first as an educator, a politician and peacemaker and finally holding the highest office in the land as the Viceregal. Sir Michael Ogio was a staunch Catholic and family man; he was a man amongst men, a leader with the heart for his people and his selflessness and Christian values were the hallmark of his jovial attitude to life to which he lived a full one.

As a teacher His Excellency had taught in many schools throughout the country prior to PNG gaining independence. His love of teaching was very well reflected in his demeanour and the manner in which he carried himself. Sir Michael Ogio was then elected into the then North Solomons Provincial Government and served as its first Minister for Education and from there he contested the National Elections and was elected into office as the Member for North Bougainville. As a National MP he held various government Ministries and further distinguished himself as a leader at the national and international level.

It is worthy to note his time as Member for North Bougainville which was through the darkest years of Bougainville’s history during the Bougainville Crisis (1989-1997). The immense contribution that he made in the peace process and the peace building after the Crisis during this tumultuous period must be lauded as he was one of the foremost leaders who led our people into the peace that we enjoy today; that is by far Sir Michael’s greatest legacy, to finally see Bougainville at peace and the people’s drive to self-determination to be enduring as ever.

I pay tribute to this great man who was a friend and contemporary of mine and on behalf of the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the people of Bougainville I offer my sincerest condolences to Lady Esime and the family of our Late Governor General Sir Michael Ogio. Let us not be bereaved by grief but also celebrate the life of this extraordinary man who for more than 40 years dedicated his life to serving this country through the public service and through public office as a politician and statesman. May God our Father grant him eternal rest.

Chief Dr. John L. Momis, MHR, GCL

President

The Prime Minster, Peter O’Neill, has released the following statement in the passing of H.E. Sir Michael Ogio, GCMG CBE.

“It is with great sadness that I have been informed of the passing of the Governor General of Papua New Guinea, the Late Sir Michael Ogio.

“As a nation and as a Government, we have prayed for His Excellency to return to good health, but this was not to be.”

“We now pray for the family of the late Sir Michael Ogio, and thank them for the commitment that Sir Michael gave to our country.”

“As a Member of our Nation’s Parliament, as a former Deputy Prime Minster, and as the Nation’s Vice Regal Representative, Sir Michael Ogio was an outstanding representative for the people of Papua New Guinea.”

“He was humble, he was sincere and he was a man who took an interest in the development of our nation.”

“We thank the late Sir Michael Ogio for his service to the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, to the advancement of our people and to his role in strengthening the unity of our people.”

 

Bougainville News : President Momis returns to work on the threshold of the Referendum

 

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We are looking to develop our education and health facilities and develop other infrastructure on Bougainville but we must not overlook our responsibility and that is the implementation of the BPA through credible means,

“Undeniably, we have problems on Bougainville but we have also achieved a lot since the inception of the ABG; we now have the power to develop our own education policies, our health policies and others such as finance and mining,”

The people of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville have a dream to create a new socio-economic political and moral order as they stand on the threshold of the Referendum.

ABG President Grand Chief Dr John Momis said that dream is within the reach of the people of Bougainville but they first have the responsibility to implement the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

“I welcome the President’s return as it provides added momentum to our work to reform the public service

President Momis has made it clear that he considers reform of the public service to be a critical priority for ensuring that Bougainville delivers on the Bougainville Peace Agreement and the expectations of our people,”

Chief Secretary to the ABG Joseph Nobetau has welcomed ABG President Grand Chief Dr John Momis following a period of leave, announcing that he is energized and ready to continue on the path to reform in the ABG. See Press release 2 below

NOTE : ABG President Grand Chief Dr John Momis has thanked the people of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea who had him in their prayers during his time in the hospital in the Philippines.

The President’s doctors have given him a clean bill of health and he said he was ready to get back to working with the people as they prepare for the upcoming referendum. Picture is the President with journalists during his first press conference on last Friday after his return the previous day.

1.Press Release

President Momis said the problem the ABG faces was a lack of technical capacity to develop these powers and policies to.

But Momis is also very optimistic that Bougainville will thrive as the autonomous region moves into the future.

“Unity is the essence of our success and these problems are not impossible to overcome; our unity does not mean uniformity, it must be an all-inclusive engagement of all Bougainvilleans who must have a say on our political future come the referendum,” Momis said.

Momis added that Bougainville determining its future must also include a future for development.

Momis also cautioned that people must be realistic of their expectations of the outcome of the referendum.

“Everything depends on how hard we work to achieve a favourable outcome of the referendum; we cannot dream of the impossible while we remain complacent and not work hard for it,” he said.

“We must have faith and own the process of the referendum so that we can legitimately own the outcome that is credible and excepted by all Bougainvilleans and respected by the international community,” he said.

“I must remind you all that in today’s globalized community we must refrain from alienating ourselves international community such as the United Nations who will play an important role at the time of the referendum,” he said.

Momis further made a call to all Bougainvilleans not to deviate from the principles of the Bougainville Peace Agreement and to follow it as the guideline to achieving its ultimate political future.

2. Press release Nobetau welcomes Momis

Chief Secretary to the ABG Joseph Nobetau has welcomed ABG President Grand Chief Dr John Momis following a period of leave, announcing that he is energized and ready to continue on the path to reform in the ABG.

Mr Nobetau said that the President’s return is important as it provides continued stability and leadership for Bougainville.

In consulting with the President Nobetau said that he made it clear that he was disappointed with some aspects of recent progress and that he wants to see all members of the executive rise to the challenge of progressing reform to ensure that Bougainville continues on the path to autonomy ahead of the upcoming referendum.

“It is clear that the President maintains very strong views regarding the need for enhancing governance and discipline across the public service. As Chief Secretary, I stand ready to work with my colleagues to heal any division that may have occurred during his absence so that we can deliver on the President’s very clear expectations”, Mr Nobetau said.

President Momis has been a constant and unifying figure throughout Bougainville’s history and has played a critical leadership role in progressing the Bougainville Peace Agreement and leading Bougainville on the path to autonomy.

“As Chief Secretary I am committed to delivering on the Presidents vision for reform. Now, more than ever before, it is essential that we consolidate our status as an autonomous territory as we approach the proposed referendum date”, Mr Nobetau said.

Mr Nobetau indicated that over the coming weeks he would be providing further updates on this important work and encouraged the public service to unite to address the many challenges ahead.

 

Bougainville News : Bougainville plays host to New Zealand Minister for Foreign Affairs Murray McCully

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The Autonomous Region of Bougainville today (Tuesday 14 February 2017) plays host to New Zealand Minister for Foreign Affairs Murray McCully as he embarks on his tour of the region.

Pictured above arriving at Buka Airport

The objective of the visit is for the Minister to engage in high level discussions with members of the ABG regarding continued bilateral cooperation, impact of existing development projects, capacity for future development projects and cooperation; and possible support for the upcoming referendum.

The visit will also provide an opportunity to explore broader political, diplomatic and government to government areas of cooperation.

Bougainville and New Zealand have a long history of shared cooperation and support as New Zealand was instrumental in the development of the Bougainville Peace Agreement and since that time has maintained active support through a range of diplomatic and development initiatives.

Chief Secretary to the ABG Joseph Nobetau said the symbolic importance of this visit cannot be understated because New Zealand is a friend of Bougainville and has demonstrated a long term willingness to support the ABG as it continues on a path to autonomy, peace and reconciliation.

“Through ongoing policing support and other initiatives New Zealand is contributing to the peace and stability of Bougainville,” Nobetau said.

“The Minister’s visit is therefore a recognition, at the highest levels of Government, of New Zealand’s commitment to our long term success and growth,” Nobetau said.

Nobetau further said that the Foreign Minister’s visit provides a good opportunity to engage on a range of issues of mutual interest.

He said this opportunity will also allow the Acting ABG President Raymond Masono to formally convey to the New Zealand Government the appreciation of the people of Bougainville and the ABG for their continued support.

Since the signing of Cease Fire in 1997 the New Zealand Government has been providing development support to Bougainville which primarily aims to increase the capacity of the ABG to operate autonomously and in an open, efficient and transparent manner.

Specific development assistance projects to date include, Bougainville Community Policing Programme (BCPP), the Governance and Implementation Facility (GIF), Support to the Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner (OBEC)

They have also provided technical support to ABG departments as well as funding important infrastructural developments in health, education and agriculture through their various aid and development programs on Bougainville.