Bougainville Education News: Fundraising sports day in Panguna raises education funds for kindles

 

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“There are strong indications that the benefits of mobile reading like kindles are long-lasting and far-reaching, with the potential to improve literacy, increase education opportunities and change people’s lives for the better.

A revolution in reading is upon us…”

For now BookGainVille cannot afford to buy a kindle for every child but what we do afford to give every child here and now is the dream to have access to one

 James Tanis co-founder Bookgainville Education Revolution

The BookGainVille Cup Children’s Soccer kicked off last week at Kamex Children’s Field, Okangsira VA, Panguna District in Bougainville PNG

No uniforms, no boots and one soccer ball for both boys and girls.

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A humble beginning to a big dream to self-raise funds to buy kindles for every child in Bougainville schools.

Using e-readers (like the Amazon Kindle) and potentially recycled phones the BookGainVille project wants to provide Bougainville children and families access to hundreds of thousands of books, giving them an opportunity to change their lives.

In May 2014 the Kindle project was launched in Bougainville and 11 schools now have donated kindles ,the latest this month being the Guava School near Panguna (see picture below)

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The increasing ubiquity and diminishing costs of digital technology enabled BookGainville  to solve these problems in a simple and straight-forward way. Wherever possible, they will be building on digital platforms and mobile connectivity to make our books available to children and families who need them the most. To date they have been providing e-readers to schools in need through both sponsorships and sales.

In the first stage BookGainville has utilized Amazon Kindles that cost originally Aus$99.00 and can hold up to 1,400 books each. If you consider 1 hard copy of a book could cost say 35 Kina , that’s potentially 50,000 kina worth of books potentially on just one Kindle. Each school 250,000 kina of books

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BookGainVille will be actively curate books by Bougainville authors for our library. The more relevant and engaging a student’s first reads are, the more likely they are to continue learning and reading throughout their life

James Tanis continues to negotiate to ensure ABG adopts the kindle project for all Bougainville Schools . Recently Minister Michael Oni committed to funding kindles

The Bookgainville Cup and Kindles were donated by Colin Cowell, Simon Pentanu, Zhon Bosco and donors from PNG, Bougainville and International

Background to Bookgainville Education Project

In 2013 James Tanis the ex-President of Bougainville was studying at the Australian National  University and teamed up with Canberra based Colin Cowell a communications consultant (who had a 44 year  association with Bougainville)  to find a solution to the problem “that most Bougainville school children not have any books to read.”

James from the Nariana community (via Panguna) and his friend Simon Pentanu from Pokpok Island believed there were strong indications that the benefits of mobile reading technology could be long-lasting and far-reaching, with the potential to improve literacy, increase education opportunities  and change Bougainville students lives for the better

The need to improve literacy in Bougainville schools

According to UNESCO “Literacy is transformative: it increases earning potential, decreases inequality, improves health outcomes and breaks the cycle of poverty “.Yet there are still 740 million illiterate  people in this world and  in Bougainville there are many children of primary school age who lack basic reading and writing skills.

Books are necessary for the development of these skills, and still many schools in Bougainville have few or no books at all.

 The BookGainville education vision

BookGainVille Education project Leadership group will be the voice for

1.Students to do their best and achieve their best;

2.Parents to make education the first priority in the family;

3.Demand those in possession of arms to replace their guns with pens and papers;

4.Tell landowners to negotiate for educational scholarships instead of cash payouts as  compensation;

5.The political leaders to allocate the highest budget to education;

6.Reserve some resources now and leave some to our own children so that they will harvest when they acquire the technology,

7.Donors to advocate that education must form the highest portion of aid to   Papua New Guinea (Bougainville) and

8.Advocate for all groups that contribute to education and knowledge.

How can you donate a few dollars or kina ?

DONATE HERE

Bookgainville  Project on Bougainville PNG

 

Bougainville 2015 Elections Update: Polling in Bougainville completed now the count

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‘The counting will reflect what voters want in the third house of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG). We are making good progress with our preparations for the Scrutiny, which begins tomorrow, Tuesday 26 May 1pm,

Mr. Manu also introduced a new website for the ABG Results 2015 that will be used as well purposely to update results of the counting

http://obec.gov.pg/index.php/about-the-obec/

The public is advised to see the results provided from the website as progressive preliminary, unofficial results only to be accepted as the official or final results during the issue of writs on Monday 8 June. The counting will end on June 7

Mr George Manu -Acting Electoral Commissioner to Bougainville

Story By Tanya Lahies Photos by NEW DAWN

Polling in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARoB) has completed in all 33 constituencies and counting to start on Wednesday 27 May

According to the Acting Electoral Commissioner to Bougainville, this year’s election in Bougainville is the first to be conducted by Bougainvilleans alone without supervision from the electoral office in Port Moresby.

Polling in general which started quietly had steadily picked up momentum with the message of polling reaching far and wide in the region and to other voting areas outside in Port Moresby, Madang, Lae, Goroka and Rabaul.

Otherwise, there were some obstacles encountered. An issue highlighted was the missing of names of certain voters who complained when trying to vote. But the commissioner provided options to solve the reoccurring problem. Voters who did not find their names while polling in their constituencies where advised to check special polling sites for Bougainvilleans in Bougainville (BiB) in Buka, Arawa and Buin.

In general, Mr George Manu continued to affirm the people of Bougainville on a daily basis that the ABG general election was quiet and peaceful.

This year, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) strongly supported the Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner (OBEC) with providing trainings of the scrutineers including the media about the elections, processes and legal aspect.

Governance and Implementation Fund (GIF) also made funding available to transport the ballot boxes from Australia to Buka. The media, private and mainstream from bougainvillenews.com ,Post Courier, New Dawn Fm, NBC Bougainville and online particularly FB pages have also played an important role in disseminating information to the vast majority of the population. The Police sector also contributed to the elections awareness, which teamed up with local band Anslom Nakikus and his group during the earlier peak of the elections.

Tomorrow now sees the counting that will reflect what voters want in the third house of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG). “We are making good progress with our preparations for the Scrutiny, which begins tomorrow, Tuesday 26 May 1pm,” Mr Manu declared at the media conference today.

Mr Manu also introduced a new website for the ABG Results 2015 that will be used as well purposely to update results of the counting.

http://obec.gov.pg/index.php/about-the-obec/

The public is advised to see the results provided from the website as progressive preliminary, unofficial results only to be accepted as the official or final results during the issue of writs on Monday 8 June. The counting will end on June 7, Mr Manu said.

Counting the Votes

For the 2015 ABG General Election, counting of the ballot papers will be held at three regional count centres:

  • Hutjena High School, Hutjena – counting for the Presidential seat and the North regional and constituency seats
  • Sharp Memorial Centre, Arawa – counting for the Central regional and constituency seats
  • United Church, Buin – counting for the South regional and constituency seats
  •  On the first day, Tuesday 26 May 2015, the counting officials will open the ballot boxes in order to sort the ballot papers by type. This is so that when the counting of the ballots occurs, they are already grouped together.
  •  The counting officials will then go through the ‘reconciliation’ process, which checks that the ballot boxes contain the correct number of ballot papers.
  • Following this, the scrutiny of the preferences will begin. The first sort involves the ballot papers being sorted into piles based on their first preference. The pile of votes is then counted to determine the number of first preference votes each candidate received.
  • The candidate who received the least amount of first preference votes is then ‘excluded’ from the count, meaning they are no longer in the running to win the seat. The ballot papers for the excluded candidate are then sorted based on their second preferences. So these additional ballot papers add to the number of votes the other candidates have won.
  • At the counting centre
  • The process of counting is complex and takes time. It is important that each step is followed correctly to ensure that the candidate who wins is the candidate that was voted for. This means the process takes time.
  • The counting will take place around the clock with multiple shifts of counting officials each day. There are a number of groups inside the counting centre:
  • Note: The exclusion of candidates continues until one candidate either receives the Absolute Majority, or only two candidates remain in the count. Following either of these, the count will be completed and await formal declaration by the Returning Officer. The Activity: Understanding LPV provides guidance on how the exclusion process works.
  • Note: At this point, if a candidate receives the Absolute Majority, the count will be completed and await formal declaration by the Returning Officer. If not, the exclusion process commences.
  • Presidential ballot papers will be packaged up and transferred to the Presidential counting centre.
  • The Special Votes (the votes in the envelopes) will then be examined to identify whether the ballots are eligible to be included in the count.
  • How counting takes place
  • The below process is followed for each constituency, regional women’s, regional former combatant and the presidential elections.
  • Counting officials- with the responsibility of sorting and counting
  • Returning Officers- managing the counting officials, with overall responsibility for their area
  • OBEC advisors- a group of Australian and New Zealand advisors will be there to provide support and guidance following a request for support from the Acting Electoral Commissioner
  • Scrutineers- one scrutineer per candidate can be at the counting centre to watch the process and provide quality assurance by alerting the Returning Officer if they see anything of concern
  • Observers- international and domestic observers who are there following an invitation by the Acting Electoral Commissioner to observe the process as part of a commitment to transparency

 

  • Meanwhile, in support of the counting publicity and dissemination of information, the media in Bougainville is well prepared for the two weeks. While NBC Bougainville, New Dawn fm and the ABG mobile Radio Ples Lain will report from Buin, Arawa and Buka, other media personals from Post Courier will also ensure that information reach the majority of the eligible voters and spectators. Other media personals outside of Bougainville and from abroad will also participate in covering this significant period.

 

  • “I encourage all Bougainvilleans to continue working cooperatively with OBEC officials and the Bougainville Police Service to make this election, free, safe and fair,” Mr Manu urged.
  • This year’s election will also introduce a formal Electoral Dispute Resolution Process with the support from UNDP. The process will give any enrolled candidate, voter or scrutineer the opportunity to complete a form regarding any complain they may have if they believe that a violation of the electoral law or other laws has occurred, Mr Manu added.

Bougainville 2015 Election update: Voting near completion as counting gets underway

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Acting Electoral Commissioner to Bougainville Mr George Manu speaks at the media conference held today Wednesday May 20, 2015.

(This is the Press statement from the commissioner).

Welcome and thank you for attending today’s media conference for the 2015 ABG General Election.

Today, I am pleased to report that polling has been completed in 31 of our 33 constituencies.

Polling is yet to be completed in just two of the more than 730 polling places that operated during this election.

  •  There is one polling place in Tasman, in the Atolls, that is yet to poll. Polling has been delayed in that location due to weather and logistical challenges; however, I am advised that it is anticipated that polling will be held there in the next couple of days.
  •   Polling is also underway today at one polling place in Kabaku in North Nasioi and is expected to finish there today.

Throughout this election we have had 218 polling teams operating across all of Bougainville and 5 provinces on mainland PNG.

I would like to thank the dedication and professionalism of all polling teams and the 19 Returning Officers.

They have overcome the many logistical challenges that we face when providing access to voting for the more than 172,000 enrolled Bougainvilleans.

Throughout this election we have achieved a number of things for the first time.

  • This election is the first election in Bougainville led by Bougainvilleans for Bougainvilleans. I cannot over emphasise the significance of this.
  • This election is also the first in Bougainville where we have established regional electoral offices in Arawa and Buin, bringing the administration of the election closer to the people.
  • Another first is that my office implemented out of constituency voting for Bougainvilleans Inside Bougainville. Polling places were established at central locations in Buka, Arawa and Buin to facilitate this. These Special Polling Places, established under our Elections Act, increased the opportunity for voters to exercise their democratic right to vote.
  • In this election we also increased the opportunity for Bougainvilleans Outside Bougainville on mainland PNG to participate in the election by providing voting service in Port Moresby, Lae, Goroka, Madang and Rabaul.
  • And finally, there was the enhanced security features of the ballot papers. This is the first time for PNG, and quite possibly the Pacific, that ballot papers with such advanced security features have been used.

What we have achieved is a great stepping stone towards better, stronger elections in the future. Of course every election is not without its challenges.

My office will continue to investigate all reports and complaints relating to this election as they come to light. This includes reports of people’s names not being found on the Final Electoral Roll and cases of voter or candidate misbehaviour.

As I announced yesterday, in light of credible reports received that some people were seeking to abuse the Special Voting Service for Bougainvilleans Inside Bougainville by attempting to vote more than once and by attempting to remove the indelible ink, polling at the Special Polling Places has been brought to a close ahead of schedule.

I took this step to safeguard the integrity of the election.

My office will be following up on the reports of multiple voting and I will be requesting assistance from the Bougainville Police Service.

I wish to thank the vast majority of Bougainvilleans who worked cooperatively with polling officials and the Bougainville Police Service to make this election, free, safe and fair.

In terms of next steps, OBEC will conduct a Training-of-Trainers for Returning Officers on counting procedures. This training will be held in Buka on Friday 22 May. All Returning Officers will travel in from their regions to attend and they will then return to their regions to train their count centre staff.

Then on Saturday 23 May OBEC will sort the envelopes from the Special Voting Services. Envelopes containing ballot papers cast through Special Voting Services, both for Bougainvilleans Inside Bougainville and Bougainvilleans Outside Bougainville, will be sorted according to their constituency.

The sorting of envelopes will be conducted in the full view of scrutineers and electoral observers. Envelopes will be sorted by region and constituency – there will be no opening of envelopes.

Sorting of envelopes for Bougainvilleans Outside Bougainville will take place in Buka, while sorting of envelopes for Bougainvilleans Inside Bougainville will take place in the three regional count centres at Buka, Arawa and Buin.

OBEC is committed to full transparency and I invite scrutineers and electoral observers to witness the process from beginning to end.

At the end of the SVS sorting, envelopes will be placed in ballot boxes, resealed, and transported with police escort to their respective regional count centres.

In addition to the three regional count centres in Buka, Arawa and Buin, there will be a Presidential count centre in Buka. That is where the counting for the Presidential seat will take place. To allow for a faster presidential count, the first step of the Scrutiny at each of the three regional count centres on Tuesday 26 May will be to identify misplaced ballots that may have been deposited in the wrong ballot box.

I will provide more detailed information on all of this over the coming days.

Thank you again for attending today’s briefing. I will hold my next media briefing at 2pm Bougainville time on Monday 25 May here in the OBEC Media Briefing Room.

PNG BAN ON AUSTRALIAN’S TRAVEL TO BOUGAINVILLE – Momis says honour the Bougainville Peace Agreement

 

 

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“I call on the Foreign Minister to lift the ban immediately, and to separately take steps to resolve the PNG dispute with Australia. There is no basis for the PNG Government to be harming Bougainville as a way of dealing with its misunderstanding with Australia.

“I also call on the Foreign Minister to work with the ABG to ensure that we can use our foreign affairs powers under the Peace Agreement.

“I also seek an assurance from the Minister that in future he will not take unilateral action in relation to foreign citizen’s travel to Bougainville. Instead, he must recognise Bougainville’s autonomy, and only take any such action at the request, or with the agreement, of the ABG

Grand Chief Dr John L. Momis

President John L. Momis today made a statement on the dispute between PNG and Australia over the PNG announcement of a ban on travel to Bougainville by Australians. The ban was imposed in response to Australia’s announcement about establishing a diplomatic office in Bougainville.

The President said the ban on Australians travelling to Bougainville would only cause problems for PNG, Bougainville, and Australia.

He said: “Australia is spending K120 million per year on assistance for Bougainville. It supports development building the capacity of the public service of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG). A ban on Australians travelling to Bougainville will severely slow delivery of important assistance that is helping Bougainville in many ways.

“It is therefore vitally important that this dispute between PNG and Australia is resolved as soon as possible. The dispute can readily be resolved if both governments honour the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

“Australia knows that under the Agreement, Bougainville’s leaders accepted that Bougainville is part of PNG unless the referendum process results in a change. So unless or until that happens, Australia must of course respect PNG sovereignty.

“I understand that what Australia proposes is a limited increase in the full-time office it has had in Buka since about 2007. Australia has had discussions with PNG and the ABG about doing this. But the announcement in the Australian Treasurer’s budget speech last week made it sound as if a major diplomatic office is to be established

That is not the case. Australia should publicly clarify what is little more than a misunderstanding.

“For its part, PNG should remember that the Peace Agreement provides Bougainville with high autonomy, now guaranteed by the PNG Constitution.

The travel ban has been imposed without a request from or agreement of the ABG. This is a serious breach of at least the spirit of the Peace Agreement.

“The Agreement also clearly gives the ABG control of access of foreigners to Bougainville.

Under it the ABG can propose names of foreigners to be placed on the visa warning list, to prevent their entry to PNG and Bougainville. All applications for work permits and employment visas for people wanting to go to Bougainville are required to be referred to the ABG.

“But ABG requests to the National Government to set up the necessary administrative machinery for the ABG to exercise these powers have so far been ignored. So it seriously concerns me that PNG now wants to control travel to Bougainville, when it does nothing to allow the ABG to exercise its clear powers to control foreigner’s access to Bougainville.”

The President said that he wanted to discuss the travel ban with Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs as a matter of urgency.

He said: “I call on the Foreign Minister to lift the ban immediately, and to separately take steps to resolve the PNG dispute with Australia. There is no basis for the PNG Government to be harming Bougainville as a way of dealing with its misunderstanding with Australia.

“I also call on the Foreign Minister to work with the ABG to ensure that we can use our foreign affairs powers under the Peace Agreement.

“I also seek an assurance from the Minister that in future he will not take unilateral action in relation to foreign citizen’s travel to Bougainville. Instead, he must recognise Bougainville’s autonomy, and only take any such action at the request, or with the agreement, of the ABG

Grand Chief Dr John L. Momis

 

PNG Australia diplomatic row: Bougainville needs sustained and meaningful peace and happiness

 

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PNG – Australia diplomatic row:

Bougainville needs sustained and meaningful peace  and happiness with everyone as well as with itself

Photo and words by Simon Pentanu :Kieta

Picture: A peace symbol on white coral sand, among black pebbles. Bougainville desires peace more than anything else. May peace and harmony prevail on Bougainville and in PNG.

“May be the choice of the words diplomatic office or mission in the Federal budget estimates is the primary source of this agitation in the context of political arrangements for Bougainville within PNG. That budget estimates are only proposals and plans pending approval is often lost, as may be the case now, when political fray momentarily takes over.

But there is no doubt that Australia must recognize sensitivities both political and cultural in a more considered and serious light to avoid stumbles and pitfalls in its otherwise long, enduring relationship with its most populous, boisterous and resource rich Melanesian neighbour.”

If there is anything at all that the ABG leadership should say on this matter it is that the spirit of the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA) should oblige the National Government to consult or at least inform Bougainville that it was taking such a course with Australia before banning visits by its citizens to the Region.

 Simon Pentanu

This incident or misunderstanding is something that was probably bound to happen along the way. That it has, has thrown up an opportunity for Australia to think through more carefully just how best Canberra should bring such and other matters in connection with Bougainville to the attention of PNG leaders. I say along the way because we read that there have been discussions at bureaucratic and political level in mooting the office on Bougainville.

PNG has made its point well and clearly about the need for consultation. Australia has responded with some caution and constraint, clearly so that the diplomatic waters are not muddied any more than they are already. Both sides need to recognize that both countries have had more bellicose diplomatic and political spars and spats in the past and that humility, time and dialogue have been the best healers. Not ironically most of the similar cataclysm in the past has had to do with something or other with Bougainville.

Bougainville will continue to be a prickly thorn on the sides of successive PNG and Australian Governments for a variety of different reasons to do with the Region’s political future. What most of us don’t want to see is politicians in PNG, including Bougainville, and Australia flexing their muscles, grandstanding and communicating in euphemisms and monologues at a distance where they are hard of hearing each other and as a consequence creating potential uncertainty and confusion among ordinary folk in Bougainville on a matter over consultative procedures and processes in dealing with matters on the Island.

A Masters thesis or a PhD dissertation or a Crocodile Prize entry or even the verses from the humongous King James version Bible  will not nearly address or offer the way out towards grappling with or getting this potentially divisive matter towards an amicable resolution as would be a dialogue between affected human beings at close quarters, and face to face.

The BPA which is a joint-creation between Bougainville leaders and PNG remains a good guide, and in parts an enforceable document, to consult. If there is anything at all that the ABG leadership should say on this matter it is that the spirit of the BPA should oblige the National Government to consult or at least inform Bougainville that it was taking such a course with Australia before banning visits by its citizens to the Region.

Sensitive issues, whether it is to do with thinking aloud about a diplomatic office in Buka now or asking former Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare to remove his shoes at Brisbane airport some years ago calls for more than just diplomatic or political skills to manoeuvre through and get out of. They certainly cannot be suppressed or buried because they will simply resurface elsewhere in our regional relationship.

 

 

Diplomatic row BREAKING NEWS: PNG Government Imposes Ban on Australians Travelling to Bougainville

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Rimbink Pato, Minister For Foreign Affairs and Immigration, has announced a ban on Australians travelling to Bougainville.

Minister Pato issued the notice following the announcement by Australia of its plan to establish an Open Mission in Bougainville.

The Minister said, “I have instructed the Chief Migration Officer to impose the ban with immediate effect and to notify all PNG Overseas Missions and Posts and domestic carriers of the ban.”

He said Australians residing in Bougainville on work and permanent resident visas will not be affected by the ban. The ban will apply to all Australian passport holders who intend to visit Bougainville on tourist, business and other short-term entry visa’s.

All Diplomats and Foreign Government Officials wishing to visit Bougainville must seek clearance from the Department of Foreign Affairs before travelling to Bougainville. A clearance note will be issued to the Carrier to uplift the named officail(s).

The ban will also be imposed on any foreigner who applies for a visa at an PNG Overseas Missions and Post to visit Bougainville.

PNG Migration, Customs and Police Officers on duty at PNG Ports and Entry and Provincial Airports will monitor the ban and report any non-compliance to the Chief Migration Officer.

Source: Rimbink Pato, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration 15 May 2015 [Media Release]

Bougainville Elections 2015 : Deciding our future only 9 days to go

Voting

 

By Aloysius Laukai Managing Editor Bougainville News International -Subscribe for email delivery

Polling in 24 of the 33 seats in the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s Parliament were completed today Saturday May 16th, 2015.

This means only 9 Constituencies are yet to complete polling before end of polling on May 26th.

This also means that the remaining areas must be covered in the next nine days.

This was revealed by the Acting Bougainville Electoral Commissioner, GEORGE MANU this afternoon in his daily press conferences.MANU said that despite the hiccups at the start of Polling he was happy that polling is progressing well.

By this afternoon polling have been completed in many areas.

In North Bougainville, polling has been completed in 12 CONSTITUENCIES of HAKU,PEIT,HALIA,HAGOGOHE,TONSU,TSITALATO,SELAU,TEUA,MAHARI,

TAONITA TINPUTZ and TAONITA TEOP.

In South polling has been completed in twelve Constituencies of RAMU,KONNOU,LULE, BAUBAKE,MAKIS,KOPII,MOTUNA HUYONO, BABA,LATO,BOLAVE and TOROKINA.

The Commissioner said that due to communication difficulties receiving updates for Central continues to be challenging at times.

Polling for Monday will take place at RATERI in the Rao Constituency whilst team 99 For IORO will poll at SIREDONSI village, team 111 for South Nasioi will poll at ROREINANG and in KOKODA team 125 will poll at KOROMIRA.

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NEWDAWNPIC of George Manu by Aloysius Laukai

The Bougainville Electoral Commissioner, GEORGE MANU today commented on the 2015 ABG Election Common Roll.

He told a media conference in Buka this afternoon that significant resources are required at an Institutional, Human Resourcing and Infrastructure level to maintain an accurate and comprehensive Common Roll and this remains a challenge for Bougainville.MANU said that it is a legal obligation of every Bougainvillean to enrol as a voter and it is the obligation of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner, through the Returning Officers to provide that facility to the people.

He said that a good roll depends on the involvement by the people MANU said that through the Returning Officers, Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commission undertook an active enrolment drive between September 2014 and February 2015.

The drive resulted in a Preliminary Roll with about 11,500 additional voters.

The Preliminary Roll was put on public display for about two weeks and at the end of the public scrutiny another 8,800  voters were added to the roll.

The Electoral Commissioner said that the final Electoral Roll used for the 2015 ABG Election totals 172,797 voters, which is an increase of about 20,000 extra voters from the previous roll.

He said that his office received funding for the 2015 ABG General Elections only few weeks before the roll closed on the issue of the writs on March 27th, 2015.

Bougainville Obituaries : Moses Havini: leader of struggle for Bougainville’s autonomy

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Moses Havini, like his namesake, was a man who had a date with destiny. They shared the same cry: “Let my people go.” Neither man lived to see the fruits of his labour realised, but Havini’s struggle for Bougainville as an independent country was fundamental to its destiny.

People meeting Havini were instantly engaged by his intelligent, self-effacing honesty, passion for justice with honour, and sense of humour.

MOSES HAVINI 1947-2015

As published online in Australia  by Jim Beatson

Photo above :Moses Havini speaking at the opening of an exhibition of artwork by his wife, Marilyn, in 2004. Behind Moses is a painting of members of the Autonomous Government of Bougainville. Photo: Anna Pha

People meeting Havini were instantly engaged by his intelligent, self-effacing honesty, passion for justice with honour, and sense of humour. At his 50th birthday he announced: “I don’t really know if this is my birthday. The local missionary just turned up one day and declared I was born on the 5th of June. But it’s a good excuse for a party.”

 

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Moses Havini was dismayed by the lack of concern Australians displayed for his homeland’s plight. Photo: Palani Mohan

Moses Havini, officially born on June 5, 1947, was from the Nakas clan and son of the paramount chief of the Naboin clan on Buka Island, the northern tip of Bougainville. In 1972, he was Bougainville’s third graduate (BA from the University of Papua New Guinea).

His story is also incomplete without discussion of his wife, Marilyn (nee Miller): a gracious extrovert, passionate Christian, committed woman’s rights advocate, art teacher and artist.

She explains: “I became aware of Moses at a Christian Conference held at Melbourne’s Monash University in early 1971 when I was 20. He came as the editor of UPNG’s Christian student newspaper.

“We didn’t get a chance to talk but glances were exchanged. Their group then flew to Sydney and visited my place. We spoke, briefly, before they left. Later I went to the airport to see them off and at the last moment Moses ran over, jumped the fence and asked for my address. We became instant pen pals.

“Then I was selected by Australian Girl Guide Association as a Sea Ranger on a service project to Port Moresby where Moses was studying. We met, fell in love quickly, Moses asked both our fathers for permission to marry. Both agreed, while Moses’ father said that he could not speak for his people unless they met me.”

So during Moses’ mid-semester break, they travelled to Buka, where Marilyn was adopted into the clan and married in July 1971.

Not long after the wedding Moses received notice that as his wife was now paid as a lecturer at Port Moresby Teachers College, his university scholarship was cancelled. Simultaneously Marilyn received a dismissal notice saying that because she was married, it was her husband’s job to support her. Both letters were signed by the same Australian colonial head of the Education Department. Moses became a private student and graduated in record time.

Marilyn consulted clan leaders across Bougainville before winning the PNG competition for a Bougainville flag.

Although he was a graduate in law, Havini, knew that Bougainville, 1000 kilometres west of Papua New Guinea, was historically, geographically and culturally the principal island of the Solomon Islands. It had become a province of PNG in the mid-1890s as Britain, Germany and the US exchanged scraps of empires.

It became part of German New Guinea and was taken by Australia at the start of World War I. It was taken by Japanese at the start of World War II, and later by Americans, who handed it back to Australia as a UN Trust Territory.

In 1971 and ’72, Havini made several trips to Port Moresby, returning with strategies and recommendations for a localised transition towards district government. He replaced an Australian as the adult education officer for Bougainville and established many literacy and correspondence courses.

He also famously “captured” the PNG education minister, Sir Ebia Olewale, and took the minister up the Buka road to meet the local Hahalis Welfare Society, which was demanding a local school. Sir Ebia returned to PNG Parliament and carried through on his promise.

Havini’s dedicated and unpaid work for political representation to PNG for Bougainville led to his appointment by the nine local government councils in the province as their executive officer in setting up district government.

Gough Whitlam’s government wanted to grant independence quickly to its PNG Trust Territory, and was committed to preventing it from becoming a “failed state”. Whitlam believed the vast profits of the Panguna mine on Bougainville could prevent that outcome, but only if most of PNG’s slice of the negotiated agreement with the miners went to the Port Moresby government.

Havini and much of Bougainville’s population had other ideas. But first, on a Fulbright Scholarship, Havini visited America in January 1975 studying government and administration. He returned to tightening tensions between PNG and Bougainville.

On May 28, 1975, the Interim Provincial Government in Bougainville agreed to secede from PNG. On September 1, 1975, a month before PNG’s planned Independence Day, Havini carried the Bougainville flag to Wakunai (North Bougainville) and a Universal Declaration of Independence (UDI) was proclaimed. Similar ceremonies were conducted around the island.

In January 1976, at Hutjena, the PNG police fired rubber bullets and tear gas canisters into the crowd. Havini, a man committed to non-violence, was hit in the back with a canister, causing a wound that took months to heal and left a large scar.

Bougainville was unable to get other countries to recognise its UDI. So a negotiated settlement for “provincial” status led to Havini’s appointment as Clerk of the Assembly, 1977-81, then Speaker of the Provincial Parliament Assembly, 1982-85.

The uneasy rapprochement with PNG ended in 1989 when villagers blew up two power pylons carrying electricity to the Panguna mine. Further conflict followed and within months the mine was closed.

In January 1990, Moses, Marilyn and their four children fled Bougainville and moved to Sydney.

As Havini was married to an Australian citizen, PNG’s request for his deportation as a “terrorist” was unsuccessful. For the next 15 years Havini, living in Sydney, was the representative of the Interim Government of Bougainville for the region and the world.

PNG’s Defence Force received Australian-supplied helicopters and patrol boats to blockade Bougainville, where cerebral malaria was endemic. The struggle to create an independent Bougainville was on, turning quickly into a long, bloody, war, but one with no doctors or medical and food supplies.

Connected to his homeland only by satellite telephone and fax, Havini learned the arts of diplomacy with the UN, media, Australian and regional politicians. He attracted supporters to build an Australian political base, the Bougainville Freedom Movement, when Australian progressives were more motivated by events in East Timor.

A decade later the Bougainvilleans again learned that although they had won the war with PNG and set up the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), the victory had little meaning if no country recognised the winner.

So Havini decided his focus was to encourage a just peace between Bougainville and PNG. He made representations to the United Nations Human Rights Council, supported by Bougainvillean delegations. These efforts were also supported by the many women’s groups on Bougainville that Marilyn had helped to create. They charmed foreign minister Alexander Downer to take seriously the need to support a New Zealand initiative to set up peace talks. These led to the Bougainville Peace Agreement, where Havini was a key member on the ABG’s side. It decreed that all armed personnel should be withdrawn from the island by December 2002.

Havini also became adept at providing the detailed briefings needed by good journalists. The Australian correspondent of London’s The Times, Robert Cockburn, discovered the ADF member who had came up with the concept of the medieval-style blockade of the island and later wrote the related stage play, Hotel Hibiscus. Another journalist started a campaign to collect medical and other supplies in Australia for the beleaguered population – an idea copied across state capitals. Fred Hollows became one of the collectors while the ABC’s Mark Corcoran said his visit put him onto a career path that would drive his life.

By 2005 the Havinis had moved back to Buka, as negotiations between PNG and the ABG had established autonomy on Bougainville. Moses became mentor to the ABG as director of parliamentary committees. Marilyn says Moses’ aim throughout his life was to see “Papua New Guinea as a friendly neighbour, rather than their ruler”.

In August 2013, Havini was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and returned to Sydney for treatment.

The head of New Zealand police’s Bougainville Peace Team, the clerk of the NSW Parliament and PNG’s high commissioner to Australia attended his Sydney funeral and he received a state funeral on Bougainville.

Moses Havini is survived by Marilyn, their children Rikha, Torohin, Solomon and Taloi, four grandchildren and adopted children Patrick, Maria, Sissi, Justin, Judith, Genevieve and Jennitha.

Jim Beatson

 

Bougainville Elections Week One Update : Critics on international observers Bougainville elections

 

 

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Bougainvilleans are now questioning the stance of international observers in this election after it has been seen and witnessed at many polling booths that the international observers are telling Bougainvilleans what they should do and not do during polling.

 As Bougainvilleans, they are aware that these international observers are here to observe the 2015 ABG general election and not to interfere in the election processes in any way or tell the people of Bougainville what they expect of them and so forth.

Polling is currently underway in all regions and special voting centres in Bougainville and on mainland PNG and the acting electoral commissioner for Bougainville George Manu is pleased that polling according to reports has been generally peaceful and people are conducting themselves appropriately.

 With Bougainville just into its first week of polling, it is now scheduled that polling have been completed at 153 polling places, 133 in North, 60 in Central and 148 in South Bougainville

Acting Commissioner Mr Manu instructions to observers (full detail below )

“They have the right to freedom of access to all polling locations and counting centres and they have the right to communicate any specific concerns they may have to the Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner or any other competent authorities,”

Observers are not allowed to interfere with or impede the normal course of the electoral process and they must not prevent electoral officials from exercising their duties and obligations.

Their role in this election is reflected in the Code of Conduct that all observers had signed.

 

As part of the commitment of the office of the electoral commission between May 11 and May 26, polling is scheduled to take place in constituencies until the 26th of May 2015.

BY JENNIFER NKUI Photo Caption: Commissioner Manu talking to one of the international observers in Tinputz early this week.

The involvement of international observers in the election processes is confusing the village people and they are not happy about this.

After hearing of this yesterday, the acting electoral commissioner for Bougainville George Manu stated strongly that the international observers are here in Bougainville to only observe the election.

He clearly stressed that if international observers are doing what the reports states, then they are clearly going over the line.

He said international observers are here to observe the elections and are not supposed to be telling Bougainvilleans how to act during polling.

Meanwhile, the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner has clarified that the Election Observers currently participating in the 2015 ABG General Elections have an important role to play in the election.

This statement was made by the acting Bougainville electoral commissioner George Manu in response to questions raised by the people of Bougainville on the stance of international observers in this election.

He revealed yesterday that international observers have an important role to play to ensure the integrity, transparency and legitimacy of the election, saying they have been invited by the commission to participate.

He stressed that it is important that the election is seen to be in accordance with the law and international standards.

He said observers have the right to obtain information about the election at any stage or location.

He added that they have the right to enjoy freedom of movement throughout Bougainville without prior permission or notification and that they also have the right to freedom of access to all polling locations and counting centres with the right to communicate any specific concerns they may have to the office of the Bougainville electoral commission or any other competent authorities.

The acting commissioner however stated that observers are not allowed to interfere with the normal course of the electoral process and they must not prevent election officials from exercising their duties and obligations.

He pointed out that their role in this election is reflected in the Code of Conduct that all observers have signed.

He said if there are complaints raised about the behaviour of observers, his office will investigate the matter because he alone has the power to cancel the accreditation of any electoral observer that violates their code of conduct.

He will not do so as a result of stories or speculations but he will carefully investigate any incidents reported to him.

Polling is currently underway in all regions and special voting centres in Bougainville and on mainland PNG and the acting electoral commissioner for Bougainville George Manu is pleased that polling according to reports has been generally peaceful and people are conducting themselves appropriately.

With Bougainville just into its third day of polling, it is now scheduled that polling have been completed at 153 polling places, 133 in North, 60 in Central and 148 in South Bougainville.

According to Mr. Manu, data from the field continues to flow in so these figures are provisional and may be subjected to change.

When giving the polling progress update during the third daily media conference this afternoon, the acting electoral commissioner revealed that for today alone, polling was scheduled to have been underway at 182 polling places with polling in 71 places in North Bougainville, 41 polling places in Central Bougainville, 62 polling places in South Bougainville, 3 special polling places located at the Bel Isi Park in Buka town and the OBEC officers in Arawa and Buin for those living outside of their constituencies and 5 polling places for Bougainvilleans living outside of Bougainville in Port Moresby, Lae, Rabaul, Madang and Goroka.

He said polling for South Nasioi is Central Bougainville is scheduled to be completed today while polling while polling for Kongara and Kokoda is scheduled to be completed tomorrow.

He added that polling for Bougainvilleans living outside of Bougainville is also scheduled to be completed tomorrow and he is therefore urging all enrolled Bougainvilleans on mainland PNG to visit one of the five special polling places before 4pm PNG time tomorrow.

For tomorrow, polling is scheduled to take place across 30 constituencies, 14 in North, 7 in Central and 9 in South Bougainville with the additional 3 regional special voting places and 5 special polling places in Papua New Guinea.

Mr. Manu would like also to remind the people of Bougainville that throughout the polling period, OBEC will be issuing additional radio broadcast daily at 9:30 pm Bougainville Standard Time on NBC Bougainville and at 6:30 pm Bougainville Standard Time on New Dawn F.

Present also for this third daily media conference was the United States Ambassador to Papua New Guinea Walter North.

His Excellency arrived in Bougainville today to observe the elections.

140515 Commissioner Manu outlines Observers roles

Caption: Commissioner Manu talking to one of the international observers in Tinputz early this week.

OBSERVERS currently participating in the ABG General Elections have an important role to play in the elections, says the Acting Bougainville Electoral Commissioner Mr George Manu.


“Observers have an important role to play to ensure that the integrity, transparency and legitimacy of the election and they have been invited by the commission to participate,” said Mr Manu.

“It is important that the election is seen to be conducted in accordance with the law and international standards.

Mr Manu made this clarity following daily reports received of complaints raised by people regarding the observers’ presence at some polling stations.

People had voiced out that some observers were interfering with the election process.

“Observers have the right to obtain information about the election at any stage or location.
They have the right to enjoy freedom of movement throughout Bougainville without prior permission or notification
They have the right to freedom of access to all polling locations and counting centres and they have the right to communicate any specific concerns they may have to the Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner or any other competent authorities,” said Mr Manu.

The Acting Commissioner however said observers are not allowed to interfere with or impede the normal course of the electoral process and they must not prevent electoral officials from exercising their duties and obligations.

Mr Manu said their role in this election is reflected in the Code of Conduct that all observers had signed.

“If there are complaints raised about the behavior of observers…my office will investigate the matter.

“I have the powers, as the Commissioner, to cancel the accreditation of any electoral observer that violates their code of conduct. I will not do so as a result of stories or speculations, however I will carefully investigate any incidents reported to me,” said Mr Manu.

There are approximately fifty observers from international observation groups, comprising diplomatic missions, inter-governmental organisations, civil society organisations and academic institutions conducting their observation of the election process throughout Bougainville.

In addition to the international observers, about seventy five national observers from local civil society organisations are also observing the election

 

 

Bougainville Political News: PM O’Neill wasn’t consulted over new Australian mission in Bougainville

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Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has said he was not consulted by Canberra over plans to set up a diplomatic post in Buka ,Bougainville, a politically sensitive autonomous region expected to hold a referendum on independence.

Report from The Australian online VIEW HERE

The federal government announced on Tuesday it would open five new overseas missions as part of this year’s national budget, including one at Buka in Bougainville.

Australian diplomats will also be dispatched to Doha, Mongolia and Phuket as Australia seeks to expand its footprint and spruik trade and investment opportunities.

But Mr O’Neill said there had been no consultation and no agreement to establish a post in Bougainville.

“We were shocked to learn from the budget documents that Australia is planning on establishing a diplomatic post in Bougainville,” Mr O’Neill said on a visit to Sydney today.

“I want to say that there has been no consultation on this proposal and there is no agreement to proceed,” he added.

“As we respect the territorial integrity of others, we expect others to respect ours as well.” He said that the region was a historically and politically sensitive area for PNG, with Bougainville voters expected to elect authorities in June who will call for a referendum on independence from the country as part of a 2001 peace agreement.

Under the agreement, Bougainville was promised the right to hold an independence referendum between 2015 and 2020.

It followed an almost decade-long, bitter guerilla war beginning in 1988 that claimed 10,000 lives.

The separatist conflict was the bloodiest in the Pacific since World War II, and ended when the New Zealand government helped broker a truce signed by all factions in 1997.

An Autonomous Bougainville Government was established in June 2005 as part of a United Nations-sponsored process.

O’Neill said that PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato was requesting more information about Australia’s proposal.

Pato Thursday described the plan as “outrageous” and “mischievous”.

“I’ve directed the acting secretary to call in the Australian high commissioner to explain the media accounts of this mischievous proposal to open a foreign mission on Bougainville,” Pato said in a statement, local media reported.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop insisted the matter was discussed with the PNG government during a visit she made to the country last December.

“Australia has a significant and growing development program in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, which is almost 50 per cent higher than 2012/13, and will continue to partner with the PNG government in supporting economic growth throughout PNG,” her spokeswoman said.

Bougainville is home to the giant Panguna copper deposit. A Panguna mine run by Bougainville Copper, a subsidiary of Australian-listed Rio Tinto, was forced to close in 1989 during the conflict.

Rio Tinto has said the PNG government as well as Bougainville’s leadership were supportive of restarting operations at what is one of the South Pacific’s largest mines for copper and gold.