Bougainville News:Bougainville’s Referendum will be the key issue of discussion next Joint Supervisory Board

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Bougainville’s Referendum will be the key issue of discussion in the next Joint Supervisory Board Meeting to be held on 20th October in the East New Britain Province.

ABG President Grand Chief Dr John Momis said that with less than five years left in the Referendum window (2015 – 2020) the ABG hopes to reach an agreement with the National Government on a) the key questions to be asked during the referendum vote b) the common roll to be used and who are eligible to vote c) the body to conduct the referendum and d) the date for the referendum.

“It is very clear that time is not on our side and we must move fast,” the President said.

“The ABG has already moved to implement a number of important initiatives that will strengthen the Government and public service machinery to enable it to effectively deliver services to our people and at the same time prepare them for the referendum,” President Momis added.

Other proposed issues to be discussed at the JSB will be the slow pace of the draw down of powers, tax revenue collections and a replacement fund to the K500 million Special Intervention Fund in which the final tranche of K100 million will be paid in 2016.

“Given the focus of our Government on economic development and fiscal self-reliance, we will propose to the National Government for an investment Development Fund of K500 million as a replacement to the SIF,” revealed President Momis.

“We will also be discussing with the National Government possible funding options and strategies for our Kokopau-Buin Highway, this will be an impact project with huge economic development spin-offs for our enterprising population and an impetus for economic recovery,” the President said.

Straight after the JSB there will be a Referendum Summit to be held in the East New Britain Province.

The object of the summit is to seek a consensus and understanding amongst all key players from the National Government and Bougainville under the peace process and the way forward to staging the referendum and the aftermath issues following the referendum.

 

President Momis speech to open September sitting

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I continue to reiterate that my Government has singled out unity as the key to the successful holding of the referendum and for Bougainville to achieve much progress in the way forward to self-determination and eventual independence. As a matter of fact my department is planning a region-wide patrol for this Government to visit all districts to sit and discuss government policies and programs but more importantly to hear what our communities are saying. Sometime our communities cry foul on us merely because we have not given them the opportunity to be heard and to participate.

We need to take heed of the adage “divided we fall, united we stand”. The greatest threat to a progressive and vibrant Bougainville is the people of Bougainville to remain polarized between different groupings such as Meekamui, Kingdom of Papala and Ex-Combatants etc. My appeal is for the people of Bougainville to come under the legally constituted entity – ABG.

MINISTERIAL SPEECH TO THE SEPTEMBER, 2015 SITTING OF PARLIAMENT  29th September, 2015

Mr. Speaker

It is a privilege and honour for me to present this ministerial statement as President and the Minister responsible for the Department of the President and BEC. My department as the premier and lead department of the government has an important responsibility coordinating the formulation of Government policy, developing the appropriate legislative framework and implementing government policies to ensure the smooth delivery of goods and services to the people of Bougainville.

Mr. Speaker

In the first 100 days of this Government we have moved to implement a number of important initiatives that will strengthen the Government public service machinery to enable it to effectively deliver goods and services to the people of Bougainville and at the same time prepare our people for the most important task that lies ahead of us – the referendum.

Appointment of Departmental heads

Mr. Speaker

We are consolidating the work of governing and delivering goods and services to our people by strengthening our public service.

Following the appointment of the Chief Secretary as head of the public service early this year, the Senior Appointments Committee of which I am Chairman has confirmed ten permanent heads of departments for ten (10) departments. We have made permanent appointments to the Departments of Police, CIS & Law and Justice, Departments of Community Development, Department of Personnel Management and Administrative Services, Department of Health, Department of Technical Services, Department of Community Government and the Department of Primary Industry. I am confident that the calibre of people appointed to the permanent positions possess the knowledge, experience and qualifications required to ensure that the Departments carry out their mandated responsibilities and functions effectively and efficiently.

Mr. Speaker

The Senior Appointments Committee was not able to make permanent appointments to four Heads of Department positions due to the lack of suitable candidates. Together with the newly created Department of Referendum, Peace & Reconciliation and Veterans Affairs this brings the number of departments to five in which we have to advertise and make permanent appointments. The other Departments are the Department of Mining and Energy resources, Department of Education, Department of Lands and Physical Planning and Department of Economic Development.

Performance Agreements

Mr. Speaker

It is important that we have a public service that is accountable to the Government and the people by effectively carrying out its mandated duties and responsibilities to achieve government priority policies and programs.

In order to do this, all Heads of Departments will be required to sign performance agreements with the Chief Secretary as head of the public service together with their respective Ministers. The performance agreements hold Heads of Departments accountable to their respective Ministers in achieving an agreed level of performance including certain outputs and outcomes within a specified period of time as per their contracts. At the root of chronic inefficiencies and poor implementation of government policies is the inability of senior management to manage the performance of their departments and of the public sector as a whole effectively. The introduction of an effective performance management system in our public sector will see many improvements and benefits. It clarifies the department’s results and related accountability, it promotes synergy between departments and it encourages transparency by requiring reporting results.

Incentives and sanctions will be awarded and instituted accordingly with performance.

Retention of Retirees – Incentives

Mr. Speaker

My government is proposing to develop retention policies as an incentive to retain our experienced retirees who have passed the legal retirement age and still contribute to nation building as a means to address the shortage of skilled manpower problem that we face in post crisis Bougainville. It is clear that the shortage of skilled manpower at the executive, administration and technical level poses a serious impediment to the future progress of Bougainville as a truly self-reliant economy and autonomous region. We need to be more creative to provide incentives to attract Bougainvilleans that work elsewhere throughout Papua New Guinea and overseas to return and contribute to nation building.

A number of these Bougainvilleans have also reached the retirement age and we need to be creative in developing policies that will keep them working beyond retirement age and fill in the vacuum.

Planning and Budgeting framework

Mr. Speaker

My Government is moving to strengthen the planning and budgeting framework with a view to ensure that government spending through the budget mechanism is linked to and guided by long-term Government development objectives. The planning and budgeting framework also promotes transparency, good governance and accountability in the way public funds are expended. It will also ensure a system of monitoring and measuring performance and effectiveness of government policies in addressing the welfare and social needs of the people of Bougainville.

 

Mr. Speaker

In introducing the planning and budgeting system, my Government recognizes that the Bougainville Peace Agreement is the key and overarching roadmap that will guide our political and development policies and that there are three important pillars that shape the peace agreement are; autonomy, good governance and weapons disposal. This effectively means that the Bougainville Peace Agreement becomes the ultimate guide that governs our relationship with the National Government on the pathway forward for Bougainville. Together with the BPA, focus will also be directed towards, unification, fiscal self -reliance, public consultation & awareness and improved service delivery.

 

As a way forward to coordinate and manage the resource basket available to us, my Government has approved the budget split at 60:40 between development and recurrent expenditure. The development priority sectors together with the percentage splits have been approved as follows; (a) Economic Development (28%); (b) Social Sector (23%), (c) Planning and Administration (13%), (d) and Law and Order (8)%, (e) Infrastructure (18%), (f) Rural Development (10%).

 

Economic Development (Fiscal Self reliance)

 

Mr. Speaker

My Government has targeted the economic sector as the priority sector that will drive our development agenda. The Autonomous Bougainville Government under my leadership will endeavour to mobilise, organize and empower all people in Bougainville to build self-reliant foundations for the development of Bougainville. I said in my inauguration speech and again remind us today that the Bougainville Peace Agreement is the real basis for us all being here today. It provides us with an exclusive right to self-determination. We can choose and shape our future, a right unique in PNG, and rare internationally. We should celebrate this right, as we do by being here today.

 

The Peace Agreement is a political and constitutional contract between the National Government and Bougainville. It must be honoured in full.

 

The Agreement is not a gift without any strings attached. Instead it will deliver real benefits only if we work hard to make use of the opportunities provided to us. We cannot just sit back and wait for the National Government and donors to deliver us to a promised land.

 

Only we Bougainvilleans can build the new Bougainville we want. We must grasp our opportunities. We cannot ignore the requirements of the Agreement. Without it, we would have no legitimate basis for what we do.

 

Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) and Referendum Conference

 

Mr. Speaker

We have agreed with the National Government to hold the next Joint Supervisory Board (JSB) Meeting on the 20th October, 2015. The next JSB Meeting will be important as we intend to jointly discuss with the National Government a variety of key issues pertaining to our development roadmap under the Peace Agreement.

 

Mr. Speaker

The referendum issue will be one of the important issues that will be jointly discussed at next JSB. With less than five years left in the referendum window, we hope to reach agreement with the National Government on (a) the key questions to be asked, (b) the common roll to be used and who are eligible to vote, (c) the body to conduct the referendum, and (d) the date for the referendum. It is very clear that time is not on our side and we need to move fast.

 

Referendum Summit

Mr. Speaker

I am pleased to announce there will be a Referendum Summit held following the JB to be held in East New Britain.

The objective of the Summit is to seek a consensus and understanding amongst all the key players from the National Government and Bougainville under the peace process and the way forward to staging the referendum and the aftermath issues following the referendum. We intend to bring as many people as we can from Bougainville to attend the conference in order to give maximum exposure and prepare our leaders for the important task ahead.

 

Investment Development Fund

 

Mr. Speaker

The next JSB will also provide us the opportunity to raise other important issues with the National Government. These are issues pertaining to the (a) slow pace in the drawdown of powers, (b) tax revenue collections, and (c) the replacement fund to the Special Intervention Fund of K500 million in which the final tranche of K100 million will be paid in 2016. Given the focus of our Government on economic development and fiscal self-reliance, we will propose to the National Government for an investment Development Fund of K500 million over the next five years as a replacement for the SIF.

 

Kokopau-Buin Highway

We will also be discussing with the National Government possible funding options and strategies for our Kokopau-Buin Highway. This will be an impact project with huge economic development spin-offs for our enterprising population and an impetus for economic recovery. We must develop our capacity to raise revenue from such opportunities as they present themselves.

 

 

 

Unification

Mr. Speaker

I continue to reiterate that my Government has singled out unity as the key to the successful holding of the referendum and for Bougainville to achieve much progress in the way forward to self-determination and eventual independence. As a matter of fact my department is planning a region-wide patrol for this Government to visit all districts to sit and discuss government policies and programs but more importantly to hear what our communities are saying. Sometime our communities cry foul on us merely because we have not given them the opportunity to be heard and to participate. We need to take heed of the adage “divided we fall, united we stand”. The greatest threat to a progressive and vibrant Bougainville is the people of Bougainville to remain polarized between different groupings such as Meekamui, Kingdom of Papala and Ex-Combatants etc. My appeal is for the people of Bougainville to come under the legally constituted entity – ABG.

 

Meekamui Celebration

Mr. Speaker

I wish to bring to the attention of the House, the latest event held in Panguna on the 24th of September, 2015 in which the main Meekamui faction of Panguna ably led by President Philip Miriori pledged Meekamui’s intention to join the ABG bandwagon in the way forward in search for peace and self-determination for Bougainville.

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Speaker

The celebration in Panguna attended by myself, chief secretary and a number of Government Ministers represented a bold and courageous decision by the Meekamui to totally engage with mainstream Bougainville in preparing ourselves for the vote of a lifetime in which all Bougainvilleans will be required to make. The Panguna Celebration also witnessed a declaration by Meekamui General Moses Pipiro that Panguna will be a weapons –free zone in which all weapons will be collected and locked away.

 

The Panguna celebration represented a historical step forward by the Meekamui who has not been a party to the Bougainville Peace Agreement. The Panguna Celebration was an event to mark the declaration by General Moses Pipiro of his intention to bring to a close his self-imposed exile from coming out of the “No Go Zone” and engage with the rest of fellow Bougainvilleans in preparing for the referendum.

 

I wish to salute President Philip Miriori and Deputy Philiph Takaung for the bold, decisive and responsible decision to bring the Meekaui to join the ABG and the rest of Bougainville in preparing our people for the referendum. I wish to congratulate the Vice President and Minister Patrick Nisira and his departmental Secretary Mr. James Tanis, of Peace Building, and referendum Department for working with the Meekamui to make this happen.

 

Mr. Speaker

I wish to take this opportunity to call on other factions of the Meekamui, the Konnou Group and U-Vistract Group to take the same decision and join us.

It is important that we all join hands together to ensure we achieve an acceptable outcome the vote is finally taken.

 

Conclusion

I wish to reiterate again my belief that this term of Parliament, the Third Bougainville House of Representatives has been voted in at a very critical time in the political history of Bougainville. We as members need to work with our communities to educate them and prepare them to take the vote of their life-time. We need to work with our communities to make them weapons-free and create a conducive atmosphere as required in the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

 

Mr. Speaker

My challenge to the House is that, the people who voted us in, trusted us to bring a finality to the very important question of self-determination for Bougainville as desired by many distinguished Bougainville leaders who have passed on. The responsibility has been placed on each one of us and I urge all of us to take the opportunity to return the trust placed by our people on each one of us. I am confident that we can do it using the Bougainville Spirit of always standing up for what we think is our right – even if we have to die for it as shown by 10-years of prolonged war. May the blood of those that vanished be not shed in vain.

Together as Bougainvilleans we can do it.

 

 

Thank you and God Bless Bougainville.

 

 

HON. CHIEF DR. JOHN LAWRENCE MOMIS

PRESIDENT

Report on the first 100 days of the new Autonomous Bougainville Government

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In its first 100 days the 3rd House of the Autonomous Bougainville Government has moved to implement a number of important initiatives to strengthen its public service machinery to effectively deliver goods and services to the people of Bougainville and prepare the people for the Referendum.

ABG President Grand Chief Dr John Momis in presenting his ministerial address today said that his department, the Department of the President and Bougainville Executive Council as the premier and lead department of the government has the important responsibility to coordinate the formulation of Government policies.

“My department is responsible for developing appropriated legislative framework and implementing government policies to ensure the smooth delivery of goods and services to the people,” President Momis said.

The government has already made permanent appointments to the Departments of Police, CIS and Law and Justice, Department of Community Development, Department of Personnel Management and Administrative Services, Department of Health, Department of Technical Services, Department of Community Government and the Department of Primary Industry.

The Senior Appointment’s Committee was not able to make permanent appointments to the remaining four departments including the newly created Department of Referendum, Peace and Reconciliation due to the lack of suitable candidates.

President Momis also mentioned the Planning and Budgeting Framework of the ABG noting that the Bougainville Peace Agreement is the overarching roadmap that will guide Bougainville’s political and development policies.

President Momis revealed that the approved development priority sectors together with percentage splits are as follows, a) Economic Development (28%), b) Social Sector (23%), c) Planning and Administration (13%), d) Law and Order (8%), e) Infrastructure (18%), f) Rural Development (10%).

The President also formally announced the date of the Joint Supervisory Board Meeting as the 20th of October in Rabaul, East New Britan Province.

He said discussion on Bougainville’s Referendum will be the main issue of the coming JSB and to address the issues related to it.

Other proposed issues to be discussed at the JSB will the slow pace of the draw down of powers, tax revenue collections, the Special Intervention Fund as it draws to a close and other high impact development projects for Bougainville.

The first hundred days of the present government looks optimistic in its drive to foster better and creative measures of development for its people in the coming years as it prepares for the Referendum.

A reflection of the Public service restructure
The restructure….the new departmental heads
By Tanya Lahies
A year ago…The Bougainville administration went through a restructure. Senior positions within the public service were advertised as part of its restructure under the new Bougainville Public Service Administration and Management Act 2014. All the departmental head appointments were made by the Bougainville Senior Appointments Committee that consisted of:
The President Hon John Momis, GL, MHR
The Speaker Hon Andrew Miriki (back then)
Church’s Representative Bishop Rev. Tim D Arthur
Women’s Representative Mrs Hona Holan
Bougainville Lawyer Mr Hubert Kikira
The Bougainville Senior Appointments Committee (SAC) contracted an executive recruitment firm to assist the committee and to make the departmental head appointments. Air Energy was appointed to do the recruitment and was tasked to manage an open, transparent and merit-based recruitment process for the 14 departmental head positions, the two deputies in the Department of President and BEC and the urgent appointment of an Electoral Commissioner.
The timetable for the positions of Chief Secretary, Electoral Commissioner, Secretary of the Department of Administrative Services and Secretary of Treasury and Finance were as followed:
1. In the week of Monday 8 September the start of two weeks of advertising for all positions.
2. Friday 26 September applications for these four positions to be closed.
3. Friday 10 October the shortlist were to be prepared in consultation with Mr John Kali.
4. In the week of 20th October interviews were conducted.
5. In the week of 3 November, or earlier if the interviews and paperwork was completed, the Bougainville Senior Appointments Committee were to meet to consider independent panel’s recommendations and to make appointments.
6. The planned timetable for the remaining departmental head positions was:
1. Friday 12 September all positions descriptions for the remaining 11 departments and two Deputy Chief Secretary positions were to be completed.
2. The week of Monday 15 September the start of two weeks of advertising for all positions.
3. Friday 3 October applications closed.
4. During October the recruitment firm was to carry out referee and qualification checks and prepare the short lists for all positions.
5. Interviews to take place November and early December. All enquiries about the recruitment process to be directed to the contracted recruitment firm. This was important to ensure all applicants were treated fairly and evenly.
6. The Administration to make announcements on the progress of the recruitment process.

Restructure of the public service

The restructure of the public service was important for Bougainville, it was even more important because it amplified on the power of self-governance and autonomy as reflected on the Public Servants Act 2014. It only strengthened the Bougainville Peace Agreement, and the spirit of being an Autonomous Bougainville Government.

The Autonomous Bougainville Government has started implementing the Bougainville Public Service (Management and Administration) Act 2014 which will see the re-structuring of all departments in order to meet Cabinet’s service delivery and economic growth priorities.
Minister for Public Service Hon Raymond Masono reiterated again on the Public Service Act and the importance of it.
On Monday 28th September, four Departmental Heads were sworn in as permanent secretaries. Masono congratulated the four secretaries that were the first to be declared. He reiterated that, the positions were based on ‘Acting’ till the Public Service Act came to pass and changes were made such as the appointments of the Departmental heads.

The first four Departmental Heads or Secretaries were;
Mr Justin Borgia- Secretary, Department of Community Development
Mr Herbert Kimai- Secretary, Department of Community Government
Mr Bernard Tzilu- Secretary, Department of Technical Service and Mr Kenneth Nanei- Secretary, Department of Justice & Principle Legal Advisor.

The Secretaries made their oath of pledge to loyalty of service to the Autonomous Bougainville Government, the National Government and the people of Bougainville. The pledges were made in front of the Presiding Magistrate Bruce Tasikul, Chief Secretary Mr Monovi Amani, the ministers of the Departments and other candidates and public servants.

Chief Secretary to the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Monovi Amani announced that the Bougainville Senior Appointments Committee was still yet to appoint the other candidates.

In a congratulatory remark to the Secretaries, Minister for Public Service, Raymond Masono exclaimed that for many years the government wanted its own public service… “This public service is now ours,” he declared.

Today at the second sitting of the ABG parliament, President Hon Dr Chief John Momis stated the significant achievements that had occurred in the first one hundered days of the government.

“In the first 100 days of this Government we have moved to implement a number of important initiatives that will strengthen the Government public service machinery to enable it to effectively deliver goods and services to the people of Bougainville and at the same time prepare our people for the most important task that lies ahead of us-the referendum.”

Appointment of Departmental heads
“ We are consolidating the work of governing and delivering goods and services to our people by strengthening our public service. Following the appointment of the Chief Secretary as head of the public service early this year, the Senior Appointments Committee (SAC) of which I am Chairman has confirmed ten permanent heads of departments for ten (10) departments,” Momis said.

President Momis said that the SAC, made permanent appointments to the Departments of Police, CIS & Law and Justice, Departments of Community Development, Department of Health, Department of Technical Services, Department of Community Government and the Department of Primary Industry.

President Momis said that he was confident about the appointments made. “I am confident that the caliber of people appointed to the permanent positions possess the knowledge, experience and qualifications required to ensure that the Departments carry out their mandated responsibilities and functions effectively and efficiently.

Ends

 

VP Nisira responds to Central Bougainville Hardliners” who are opposing the Bel Kol process

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The Autonomous Bougainville Government is seriously considering a move away from Panguna following disgruntled sentiments by so called hardliners from Central Bougainville.

Acting ABG President Patrick Nisira made this statement following calls by the a group labeling themselves as “Central Bougainville Hardliners” who are opposing the Bel Kol process from proceeding in Panguna.

The Acting President said that the continuous opposition by certain groups in Central Bougainville is a clear indication that the people within the area do not welcome any efforts by the ABG to create peace and build a stable economy in Bougainville.

“From the very first House led by the late President Joseph Kabui to the current Momis/Nisira government, we have seen the need to build a sound and self-sustaining economy that will cater for development and services to all people on Bougainville,” Mr Nisira said.

He added that the ABG since its inception saw the need for the reopening of the Panguna mine and the Bel Kol was one process that was requested by the Landowners themselves and it was to be facilitated by the ABG.

“We have to remind ourselves that the mine was responsible for the death and destruction not only in Panguna or Central Bougainville for that matter, but its impact was felt throughout Bougainville and in some instances even worse than what was experienced in Panguna,” he added.

Mr Nisira expressed dissatisfaction at the current trend that the people of Central Bougainville have resorted to in relation to the Panguna Mine issue.

He said sometimes it would seem that they were agreeing to the government’s initiative but then the very same people would backtrack and stall the process.

“The rest of Bougainville cannot be continued to be held in ransom by a few persons who cannot seem to make up their minds, the ABG has spent a lot of time, money and resources on Panguna just to safe guard the rights of people in the area but this is still not appreciated,” Mr Nisira said.

“It is about time we come clear on what we want, let’s not waste each other’s time but come to a consensus that clearly expresses the views of all Bougainvilleans,” Mr Nisira said.

Since its establishment the ABG has been working hard in an effort to establish catalytic processes that work toward beginning to address the grievances and human rights of the people of Bougainville

However the attitudes of a few people have always proved to be a stumbling block to the efforts of the ABG.

There was strong indication from the Acting President that if this attitude continued Panguna may not be even considered after the Referendum as an option for economic development.

Mr Nisira said the ABG is already looking at other viable projects for economic development, one in particular has already been identified has projections of K2 billion in revenue once it was off the ground.

 

James Tanis challenges Bougainville women to be proactive in Referendum campaign

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“A high turnout of voters for a referendum would produce a good and clear picture of where Bougainville is heading. I want to see every women in Bougainville cast her vote when the time comes. We  have only two years and three month left before we go to vote for our political future.

The Acting Secretary for the Department of Referendum, Veterans Affairs and Peace, Mr. James Tanis has challenged women in Bougainville to be proactive in the campaign for referendum.

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Picture above: Tanis holding breadfruits on a prolific breadfruit bearing tree like nurturing a Bougainville with a promising future.

Acting Secretary Tanis told a gathering in Arawa (picture above) recently that women have a major role to play in the march to referendum.

It is very important that all Bougainvilleans know the difference between voting in an election and voting for referendum.

Mr. Tanis explained that voting in an election is voting for a candidate whilst voting for referendum is voting for a Future.

Mr. Tanis further explained that a candidate or member can be replaced in another election, but this is not the same with referendum vote.

On referendum, Bougainvilleans will be voting for their future and it is important that we all take part in this exercise for a better outcome.

He stressed that a high turnout of voters would produce a good and clear picture of where Bougainvillea is heading.

Mr. Tanis said because of the limited time we have and the amount of awareness to be carried out, his department is turning to existing establishments like the churches, C.O.Es and Women Groups to help in bringing this message across.

The referendum vote will go ahead during this term of parliament as required law.

ABG President, John Momis has proposed 2019 to the Prime Minister as the year to hold the vote, but the exact timing is yet to be officially agreed to by both the National and ABG governments.

He said their male counterparts have already done their share in the fight and it is now up to the women to fire the last bullet when it comes to voting for referendum.

The former ABG President said this last bullet must not be fired from the barrel of a gun, but rather from the stroke of a pen when casting your vote for referendum.

He said as Manager of the awareness campaign program, he wants to see every single women of Bougainville cast her vote when the time comes.

We have only two years and three month left before we go to vote for our political future.