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.