By Tanya Lahies :Picture caption: Sam Kauona and Monovi Amani poses for a picture after the forum On behalf of the ex combatants in Bougainville, Sam Kauona, amplified that the Autonomous Bougainville Government must be transparent in all areas of development.
He raised the issue of transparency, because, he claimed that many people did not have knowledge about the current developments brought into the region by the government.
Kauona urged that weapons disposal was their area of responsibility and autonomy was the governments, but added that the government was still not delivering much needed services or programs it could have delivered.
Kauona claimed that, the money spent by the government to the development of Bougainville is not visible.
Kauona questioned whether the government monitored how the budget was spent on goods and services and he urged for more checks and balance on the budget itself especially on how the money was used.
Other concerns raised were on the delaying of the mining act and why there were foreign advisors involved. He questioned why, an advisor who had links with Rio Tinto was involved in the Mining Act and why there was no input from landowners and Chief of Elders (CoE)?
Kauona also wants to see honesty from public servants who are paid to do their jobs and not just occupying offices. He asked for a proper explanation about Torokina Oil Palm Project because at the moment, he sees that there was no sign of work taking place.
Vice President Patrick Nisira responded to the questions of Sam Kauona that the mining act did involve the landowners.
He urged that the Torokina Oil Palm Project had completed the phase one of the project, which was social mapping.
Phase two of the project is now progressing and a business development plan is being developed and once completed, investors will be invited to bid to work on the plantation, he said.
Hon Nisira urged that there needed to be an understanding about the shareholder agreement of the Bougainville POGE Development Corporation.
He said that the shareholder is based on a trustee agreement, meaning, the holder of the shares, do not own the account, but, that the money in the account, belongs to the people of Bougainville.
In his response to questions about why ABG did not build bridges, he reaffirmed that the construction of bridges is the responsibility of the National Government.
He also reassured that referendum is not deferred and that no government is delaying the process. He reminded the people the date to hold referendum is the decision of the government to make and decide on.
Other concerns highlighted by Hon Nisira were the Weapons Disposal and how weapons were still used to threaten democracy of the people. He also assured the people that the mining act was not delayed but following processes.
Hon Nisira also disputed the questions of the people who opposed bringing foreign advisors to the region. He said that any government couldn’t operate alone and become isolated from advisors abroad. That is inevitable.
“Maybe it is our fault – that we as the government, ex combatants and churches have decided that there should not be an opposition in the government… maybe we should re visit that option and make changes where necessary,” Hon Nisira said.
Tomorrow we bring to you the wrap up of the forum.