The Speaker of the Autonomous Bougainville Government House of Representatives Andrew Miriki today officially issued the writs for the forty constituency seats in a rather small but very significant ceremony at the ABG parliament chamber this afternoon.
This significant ceremony saw the acting electoral commissioner for Bougainville present to the speaker writs for the forty constituency seats, including the three regional… seats for women and the three regional seats for the ex-combatants for his signature.
Mr. Manu who spoke before handing over the writs to the speaker for his signature thanked the president, his cabinet and the chief secretary for making funding available so that his work will continue.
He then assured the Government that the Bougainville electoral commission is ready to conduct the election as per the election schedule.
The ABG speaker who was on hand to receive the writs and sign them as is his duty as per the Bougainville constitution formally issued the writs after 4pm this afternoon for the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s election for 2015.
Mr. Miriki revealed in his statement that he is satisfied with the work done so far by the acting electoral commissioner for Bougainville George Manu and that he has confidence in his leadership in ensuring that elections are conducted in the spirit of democracy.
He said the issue of writs will pave the way for the third general elections for the autonomous Bougainville government since the first election in 2005.
Therefore the speaker is appealing to all Bougainvilleans to work together with the electoral officers to ensure the election is conducted in a truly fair and just manner.
Also present to witness the issue of writs was the ABG president chief Dr. John Momis, his entire cabinet, electoral commission officers, and officers of the Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea electoral commissions and the media.
270315BILL A HISTORIC DEAL
BY JENNIFER NKUI
The permanent mining bill as revealed by the ABG president Chief Dr. John Momis is truly a historic deal and is also the result of this government over the five years that they have been in office.
When making his statement on the mining bill in parliament this week, the president stressed that with the passing of this bill, the people of Bougainville will now turn their backs on more than fifty years of injustice in mining law tha…t began when vats deposits of copper and gold was discovered in Central Bougainville.
It was fifty years ago when Bougainvilleans were told that they only had rights to the surface of the land and that they were not landowners of their own land. But with the new mining bill, Bougainville and its people are completely rejecting the terrible past.
The president then revealed that the new bill recognizes that all owners of customary land own all minerals in, on or under their land and more importantly the bill gives special powers, rights and protection to such owners.The bill also recognizes that people in areas for tenements associated with a binding lease must be given special recognition because of the impacts a mine is likely to have on them.
Therefore, the rights and needs of the owners of the minerals will be given the highest level of protection and in particular the owners will have powers to stop either or both exploration on their land or the grant of a mining license over their land.
Chief Momis said if permission for exploration is granted, landowners will be entitled to rents and compensation and if permission for development is granted, the landowners will be entitled to rents, compensation, a share of royalties, proper treatment under resettlement plans and programmes, preference in mining employment, business related opportunities, 5 per cent free equity ownership in the mine lease holder and much more.
The bill also encourages direct participation of Bougainvilleans in the mining industry. This as revealed by the president and other related provisions such as small scale mining are new directives for mining in Bougainville.