” Bougainvilleans for the first time would be given the right and freedom to actively participate in development through the referendum. Bougainville stands on threshold of a new socio-economic and political order that will define its future.
ABG President Chief Dr John Momis
The implementation of the Referendum to decide Bougainville’s ultimate political fate has reached another momentous milestone with the approval of the Question to be asked during the referendum.
The Questions to be asked will be placed on ballot papers during the referendum vote for Bougainvilleans to decide whether to secede or continue to remain as a part of PNG.
The question has been simplified to “Do you agree for Bougainville to have, option one Greater Autonomy or option two Independence.
During the referendum vote the ballot papers will be printed both in English and Tok Pisin.
The JSB was adjourned from yesterday to today because both the ABG and National Government were not satisfied with the structure of the question.
Both governments have since agreed to this question and have endorsed its use in the referendum vote ballot papers.
JOINT MEDIA STATEMENT AFTER END OF JSB
Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, the Hon. Peter O’Neill and President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, the Hon. Dr John Momis today reaffirmed their joint commitment to ensuring the full implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
Meeting in Port Moresby as part of a special meeting of the Joint Supervisory Body (JSB), the two leaders discussed broad ranging issues associated with the upcoming referendum.
The two leaders noted the importance of ensuring that the referendum is free and fair, and conducted in full accordance with the Constitution and Peace Agreement. Both the Prime Minister and the President agreed that it was essential that people understand the choice to be put, and the process to be followed once the referendum has taken place.
The meeting was also attended by the Chairman of the Bougainville Referendum Commission, former Prime Minister of Ireland, the Hon. Bertie Ahern. Mr Ahern indicated his honour at being appointed as Chairman and committed to working with both governments to ensure that the referendum is conducted freely and fairly.
Leaders noted the work undertaken to date by officials to prepare for the referendum and endorsed a proposed budget of K34 million for the coming year. Prime Minister O’Neill undertook to ensure that the budget was incorporated into the 2019 national budget when it is handed down later this year.
It was agreed that the question to be put at the referendum would clearly outline the process to be followed after the referendum takes place and would be accompanied by a comprehensive awareness campaign (refer attachment).
Leaders agreed to meet again in the third week of January 2019 in Port Moresby at a full meeting of the JSB where further updates would be provided on referendum preparations and associated work to advance peace in Bougainville.
Momis Happy with JSB
Self-determination has been a perennial problem in Papua New Guinea and Bougainville ever since first Bougainvilleans decided to secede from Papua New Guinea.
ABG President Chief Dr John Momis says that Bougainvileans have struggle for a long time to exercise their right to self-determination.
President Moms says the progress achieved in this JSB augurs well for both Bougainville and PNG.
He says Bougainvilleans for the first time would be given the right and freedom to actively participate in development through the referendum.
President Momis says Bougainville stands on threshold of a new socio-economic and political order that will define its future.
He adds that with a joint effort a good and democratic outcome can be achieved if the process has integrity by fully implementing the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
The President also extended gratitude to officials on both government for their tireless efforts in resolving issues pertinent to next year’s referendum.
President Momis said this was the beginning of good things to come in the future.