Bougainville News: Report from PASSA Inc (Parliamentary Service Staff Association

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It makes sense to defy advice or rules that don’t make a lot of sense, or that seem incongruous with the natural order of things. The most satisfying proof and way of acknowledging success, big or small, in these circumstances is to laugh a lot about it. We laughed, and laughed and threw happy tantrums in the grounds of Parliament by the cliff side at Kubu, 17 December 2015.

The celebrations were happy and peaceful. The occasion was the delivery of four Hauswins followed by parliamentary staff end of the year Christmas barbeque and drinks and coconut juice.

Jointly funded thru Speaker’s support grant, PASSA and parliamentary service funds Parliamentary staff from the cleaner, to the casual Chamber attendant, the drivers to the Clerk of Parliament right up to the Speaker and Deputy Speaker celebrated this small but a very satisfying accomplishment that grew from ground level up.

The seed for this initiative was planted at the first staff meeting called by the Speaker following the inauguration of the new Third House 15 June this2015.

The first seeds have germinated, grown and the fruits and nuts are ready for the picking. We realize the predicament with money in our Bougainville public sector. Sometimes we understand it, sometimes it is hard to understand.

We complain and talk about millions that are supposed to come but don’t come or are supposedly still on the way.

When our Parliament request falls on deaf ears or when ignored as if we do not exist, the experience is like getting blood out of a stone in a system whose accountability and response is tardy and poor.

But complaining and doing nothing is not a solution.

We have to take initiatives, think outside the box and get by as capably as we can.

Everything, including big and small ideas, grows from the ground up.

This was the catalyst that motivated us to take matters into our own hands rather than wait and waste valuable time.

So, on Thursday afternoon 17 December 2015 we celebrated and thanked ourselves and some village carpenters for seeing through the completion and delivery of four hauswins that you see in this photograph.

Except for the ridge caps, nails and bolts and the paints to spruce up the looks, the hauswins are largely of bush materials (sawn timber, sago leaves for the roofing and bamboo for the walls) which put some money in the hands of villagers that supplied these local materials.

Our Members  started using the four hauswins for refreshments on Monday 21 December when the Parliament convened for the budget meeting. This was also be the last meeting of the House of Representatives for this year.

It has been a short parliamentary year but a lot of the settling in after the inauguration on 15 June has been completed by members, ministers and our Speaker and Deputy Speaker.

We are very proud of our four women parliamentarians in the way they have started to engage in their parliamentary roles in the House, in their constituency responsibilities and in representing Bougainville at meetings and conferences they are invited to participate in abroad.

We need to do more to help and guide our three former combatant regional representatives.

From the parliamentary staff, the Clerk, Deputy Speaker and the Speaker we all hope we will begin 2016 parliamentary year on a firm foothold in our core business of serving our elected leaders.

Equally as well, we hope we can deliver on other “from-the-ground-up” initiatives in projects and deliver facilities that will make the working environment more convenient and worthwhile for our elected members.

We ask all Bougainvilleans to do likewise and not just criticise.

The Speaker, Deputy Speaker and staff wish all Members of the House a merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.

All photos: Paul Wagum