” All four national Members: Hon Joseph Lera, Minister for Bougainville Affairs, Jimmy Miringtoro, Minister for Communications, Hon Louta Atoi, member for North Bougainville and the recently elected MP for South Bougainville Hon Timothy Masiu all took turns to air and share their views on the importance of consultations and commitment to work together on matters concerning Bougainville.
The pledge expresses a desire for everyone to be on the same page in implementing the terms and intentions of the Bougainville Peace Agreement, a historical joint creation borne out of the efforts of the National Government and Bougainville’s political and factional leaders.”
Photo above : All four Bougainville national MPs with visiting members of Bougainville’s parliamentary committee on referendum after the Pledge
Autonomous Region of Bougainville’s four elected members in the National Parliament have come together, have spoken with one voice and have pledged they will work closely with the Bougainville’s Members of the House of Representatives.
In a small, unassuming but important, meeting over dinner hosted by the Minister for Bougainville Affairs on Thursday evening 11 August the four Bougainvillean national MPs made an unequivocal pledge that they will work with Bougainville parliamentarians in consulting, advising, sharing, working with each other and taking part in all matters of political, social and developmental interest and concern to Bougainville.
The main guests at the evening dinner gathering were members of the Bougainville House of Representatives committee on Referendum led by its Chairman Hon Joseph Watawi MHR.
The committee was in Port Moresby to observe the National Parliament in session and meet with the National Parliament bipartisan committee on Bougainville matters including referendum.
The joy and exchanges of pleasantries was most obvious. At long last! It is done!
There is more than one reason to expect there will be a lot of trust and cooperation from hereon between and amongst Bougainville politicians at the National level and in the Autonomous Region.
All four national Members: Hon Joseph Lera, Minister for Bougainville Affairs, Jimmy Miringtoro, Minister for Communications, Hon Louta Atoi, member for North Bougainville and the recently elected MP for South Bougainville Hon Timothy Masiu all took turns to air and share their views on the importance of consultations and commitment to work together on matters concerning Bougainville.
A timely and proper, in-depth, educated and adequately funded awareness on referendum was discussed as one of the most important matters needing immediate focus and attention for concerted, cooperative approach by leaders.
The visiting members of the House of Representatives Parliamentary Committee on Referendum led by its Chairman Hon Joseph Watawi also spoke in turns all expressing delight that the undertaking for the Bougainville political leaders to work together is most welcome. Members of the committee that spoke and shared the same sentiments included Hon Marcelline Kokiai MHR, Hon Thomas Tari MHR, and Hon Tepaia MHR
The people of Bougainville as electors will find comfort, confidence and assurance and can only benefit from the undertaking by their political leaders. Bougainvilleans have often criticized their politicians for not working together on matters that can make a difference with better political cooperation and coordination at the elected leadership level.
The four MPs representing Bougainville in the National Parliament have pledged that they will, from hereon, work with members of the Bougainville House of Representatives in the interest of all facets of development of Bougainville. The pledge expresses a desire for everyone to be on the same page in implementing the terms and intentions of the Bougainville Peace Agreement, a historical joint creation borne out of the efforts of the National Government and Bougainville’s political and factional leaders.
After a number of attempts over many elections on both sides, many exchanges and suggestions, to-ing and fro-ing, and at times laying blame from both sides, this is an achievement by Bougainville parliamentarians in both Houses to come to terms and put aside any differences in their commitment and approach on the ongoing political processes that requires their attention and decision.
The agreement pledged by the leaders followed two consultative meetings with the Minister for Bougainville Affairs and Chairman Watawi and members of his committee at Parliament House.
The Minister Hon Joe Lera said the National Coordination Office for Bougainville Affairs (NCOBA) which he heads as Minister has made a lot of effort to give practical effect to the roles and functions and fulfill the objective why this Office was established in the first place. With his intervention and better focus by the staff, NCOBA will be the primary coordination link between Bougainville and Port Moresby. His first task has been to get his colleagues the Bougainville national MPs to work in closer consultation with him through NCOBA.
The Speaker Simon Pentanu who accompanied the referendum committee delegation in his remarks praised and thanked the national MPs for this development calling it remarkable because he said it will see, in a long time, a meaningful consultative effort and cooperation by Bougainville parliamentarians at the national level and on Bougainville.
He said he will be inviting the four national MPs and expect them to take their seats in the House of Representatives in the forthcoming meeting in September and at all subsequent meetings of the House. He also said that from now on the dates of meetings of the Bougainville Parliament will be determined so they do not clash with National Parliament meetings to enable the four National MPs to attend.
Photo Above : Meeting with PNG Parliamentary committee on Bougainville Matters and referendum, with UNDP and agencies invited as observers.
Hon Ministers Joseph Lera also informed the dinner meeting NCOBA is improving its coordinating role and under his watch he expects to deliver on the aims and objectives for which this Ministry for Bougainville was established. His colleague national MPs praised and agreed with Minister Lera that since he assumed office as the Minister there has been enthusiasm, zest and zeal about the place.
Speaking for and on behalf of the parliamentary committee and his colleague MHRs Mr Watawi said that such a pledge between leaders has been some time coming. He said the pledge to work and stay together is like a bridge has now been built that Bougainville leaders can walk along together and cross both ways