Bougainville Government News alert : New ministers announced by the ABG President Chief Dr John Momis.

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The new ministers announced and declared by the ABG President Chief Dr John Momis.

The new Ministers are;


1. Hon John Momis Buin, Minister for Planning and Inter-government Relations (Department of the President and the Bougainville Executive Council)
2. Hon. Patrick Nisira Halia, Minister for Referendum, Peace and Veterans Affairs (Department of the Referendum, Veteran’s Affairs and Peace)
3. Hon. Albert Punghau (Motuna Huyono) Minister for Treasury and Finance ( Department of Treasury and Finance)
4. Hon. Raymond Masono (Atolls) Minister for Public Service (Department of Public Service)
5. Hon Willie Masiu Minister for Justice (Department of Justice and the Principal Legal Advisor)
6. Hon. Robin Wilson (Terra) Minister for Mineral and Energy Resources (Department of Mineral and Energy Resources)
7. Hon Luke Karaston Minister for Technical Services (Department of Technical Services)
8. Hon Dennis Lokonai Minister for Health (Department of Health)
9. Hon Thomas Pata’aku Minister for Education (Department of Education)
10. Hon. Jacob Tooke (Baubake) Minister for Community Government (Department of Community Government)
11. Hon Josephine Getsi Minister for Community Development (Department of Community Development)
12. Hon Nicholas Darku Minister for Primary Industries (Department of Primary Industries)
13. Hon Fidelis Semoso Minister for Economic Development (Department of Economic Development)
14. Hon John Tabinaman Minister for Lands, Physical Planning, Environment and Conservation (Department of Lands, Physical Planning, Environment and Conservation)

Bougainville News : New speaker of house Simon Pentanu hits the ground running

Swearing In

“In building and strengthening the Parliament through you as members, the Speaker’s role in the Bougainville Parliament is not one of just a Presiding Officer or Chairman of meetings of the House. I will call on all my previous experience as a parliamentary officer and Clerk of a the Parliament of a successful sovereign nation, an experience that extends over 25 years.  With this experience and background I am confident this places in a position to ensure that the management and administration of the parliamentary service is above board and that everything we do is transparent.”

Simon Pentanu Speaker, House of Representatives Autonomous Bougainville Government 2015-2020

Read full speech HERE

Picture above: ABG speaker Mr. Simon Pentanu was welcome by his Pokpok people when he returned home. The ceremony was very significant and he was accompanied by member for North Nasioi, Hon. Nicholas Darku, Hon. M. Kokiai member for central regional women and Noah Doko rep, Mr. Michael Pariu.

In this article Mr Pentanu thanks the outgoing  ABG Speaker for the last seven years, ANDREW MIRIKI and passes on his best wishes to the Port Moresby Bougainville Association celebrating the Anniversary of ABG (see below)

SPEAKER LANDS RUNNING

By Aloysius Laukai

The newly elected ABG House of Representatives Speaker, SIMON PENTANU has started working on strengthening the ABG House of Representatives.

In his first Broadcast on New Dawn FM, MR. PENTANU said that the time of partying is over and that he was now ready to do his work in strengthening Parliamentary Services to support the Government of the day.

simon New Dawn

He said that his office will prepare for the induction of members of the ABG to make sure they know what their role and responsibilities are as members of the ABG House.Pentanu said that his office will support the members to understand their work so that they can properly deliver as required by their constituencies.

He said that his office will do more in strengthening the members by carrying out educational programs to support the members work.

The ABG speaker also thanked the ABG House for having faith in him and elected him as the Speaker of the 3rd ABG House.

Meanwhile, the ABG Parliamentary services staff prepared a lunch to welcome the new Speaker at the House of Representatives.

This completed the one-week of running around since the Inauguration of the 3rd ABG House on Monday this week.

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The outgoing ABG Speaker for the last seven years, ANDREW MIRIKI  officially handed all office keys of the ABG Parliament house to the newly elected speaker, SIMON PENTANU.

The brief but very significant ceremony was witnessed by the Acting clerk, EDWIN KENEHATA and his deputy at the Speaker’s office.

Before handing off the keys, MR. MIRIKI gave a full brief of what he had done and what he could not do in the last seven years.

He also outlined some programs that the new Speaker need to continue with example the Twinning arrangement between the New South Wales Parliament and the ABG house. MIRKI said that he was happy to handover to the new Speaker to continue with the work and also promised to support the speaker if he is needed.

He said that he was now packing up and would leave the Speaker’s house in Kubu in four weeks to allow the new speaker to move and carry out his work.

New Dawn FM understands that this was a rare ceremony as most people leave office without handing over to the successor as they do not accept the change

Message from Simon Pentanu Speaker House of Representatives Bougainville.

On the occasion of Port Moresby Bougainville Association celebrations to mark Third Anniversary of ABG.

It’s a beautiful day in Bougainville. I hope it is too in Port Moresby where PBA is hosting its premier event where Bougainvilleans, with families and friends, get together today to mark this Third Anniversary of our ABG and our current political status as an Autonomous Region.

PBA is the natural facilitator of these events with the support our tertiary students, our women and those that always volunteer to assist the PBA Executive. I know that the message from this Executive has been: “PBA will not do it for you, we will do it with you.”That was the basis of the spirit of success in 2014. I’m sure it is the same spirit for AROB Day 2015.

I am proud to have been associated with the PBA, in particular with the members of the present Executive. I will continue to support the Association in my role as Speaker. I am confident we will build a closer consultative relationship with PBA through which your contributions will be appreciated and valued towards a common Good for all. No matter the distances we are all together. I wish you all a successful Day of Peaceful and Happy Celebrations. Simon Pentanu Speaker House of Representatives

Bougainville 2015 Elections : Chief Momis ABG President full inauguration speech

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The third ABG will increase the speed of transfer. Priority areas include: land; environment; mining health and safety; fisheries; incorporation of associations; police; and the ABG’s foreign affairs powers – proposing names on the PNG visa warning list, work permit applications for Bougainville, and so on.

With autonomy, significant new powers were fully transferred through development of many new laws passed, including physical planning, Public Finance Management, Mining, and a separate Bougainville Public Service.

How did the ABG perform in relation to these matters between 2010 and 2015?

  • great unity,
  • a tremendous sense of purpose,
  • intense energy, and

an unwavering commitment to the course we intend to follow.On behalf of all the newly elected members of the third ABG, I commit all of us to work on behalf of all Bougainvilleans to ensure that our common dreams and aspirations are achieved.

Thank you all for joining me in marking this beginning of what I believe will be the most exciting, but also challenging, five years in the history of Bougainville.

DOWNLOAD FULL SPEECH HERE

Chief Momis -Bougainville President Inauguration statement – June 2015

PHOTO above : The current elected ABG President Hon Chief Dr John Momis and Acting Prime Minister for PNG Hon Leo Dion

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Introductory Report from by Aloysius Laukai: Managing Editor Bougainville News

The ABG President, Chief DR.John Momis yesterday said Panguna may never Open although Bougainville’s financial woes can be resolved immediately if it opens.

Speaking at the Inauguration ceremony, DR. MOMIS said that under the Bougainville’s law on Mining, the landowners have the power to decide what’s on their land and no one can push them around.

President Momis said that options are if the landowners want or if BCL wants to re-invest in Panguna it’s up to them to decide as the ABG can just facilitate the process.

He said that if PANGUNA is allowed to open it can take up to seven years for reconstruction to commence before actually getting Copper ore from the ground.

For a complete new mine it would take over fifteen years for exploration to take place and to get the first ore from the ground.

He said some options are already available for the Government to consider if PANGUNA does not open.

photo JM 78

INAUGURATION OF THE 3RD  AUTONOMOUS BOUGAINVILLE GOVERNMENT

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

MONDAY 15 JUNE 2015

SPEECH BY CHIEF JOHN L. MOMIS PRESIDENT

Fellow Bougainvilleans, and Guests from elsewhere in PNG and from other parts of the world: I welcome you all to the Inauguration of the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s 3rd House of Representatives.

There are 2 major reasons why this day, 15 June 2015, is important to all Bougainvilleans.

First, it marks 10 years since we began our journey to self-determination under the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

Second this day starts the 5 year period during which we are guaranteed the right to participate in a referendum on our independence.

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.

We also celebrate and are grateful for the support we receive from our many partners, especially the two most important, PNG and Australia. We rely mainly on PNG grants and donor funding – especially that from Australia.

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.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I must acknowledge the vital contributions of those that have helped us to achieve the things that have got us here today.

First, I congratulate the people of Bougainville, for participating actively and peacefully in the process to select Bougainville’s leaders.

Next I acknowledge those who led the peace process. Some are no longer with us. But their contributions are not forgotten.

The first ABG Presidents provided the solid foundations for the ABG. I acknowledge the presence here today of not only Rose Kabui, widow of the 1st President, the late Joseph Kabui, but also the 2nd President, James Tanis.

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I thank members of the 2nd House for their contributions to Bougainville, from 2010 to 2015. The 3rd House will be standing on their shoulders.

I thank the Bougainville Electoral Commission, the electoral officials, their advisers, and the donors, whose efforts delivered the general elections.

To the other 8 presidential candidates, I offer my congratulations. You contributed to debate about how to meet the needs of Bougainvilleans. Presidential candidates were invited today. I aim to work closely with them. I also thank all the candidates in other seats, as well as their committees, scrutineers, and supporters.  Voters had real choices of leadership and policies.

I acknowledge the presence of senior National Government representatives. In the absence of the Prime Minister (who is overseas) acting Prime Minister Hon. Leo Dion is with us. Others include Governor of East Sepik, Hon. Sir Michael Somare; Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Mr. Rimbink Pato; and Minister for State Enterprises, Hon. Ben Micah. The Peace Agreement was a joint creation with PNG, and ongoing partnership is needed for it to bear fruit.

I acknowledge the Chief Justice. All ABG members deeply appreciate the recognition of the ABG by the participation of PNG’s  highest judicial officer.

We are honoured too by the presence of three senior colleagues, all who played major roles in empowering the PNG people.They have been friends of Bougainville, playing major roles in peace-building. I refer to Sir John Kaputin, Sir Rabbie Namaliu and Sir Moi Avei. We salute you all and welcome you

Finally, I acknowledge the presence of international community partner representatives – the UN, Solomon Islands, Australia, New Zealand, China and the United States of America, whose support is of critical importance to us.

I also offer my humble thanks to my people, for the honour of returning me to the leadership of Bougainville

I turn now to consider the work of the ABG. On this same date in 2010, I outlined five major tasks then facing the newly elected 2nd ABG.

I want to share here my honest assessment of both successes and failures of the ABG in its efforts to carry out those tasks in the last 5 years, and indicate priorities (some of them new) in what the 3rd ABG will do.

The first task was unification. Progress in the past 5 years has included:

  • Many reconciliations;
  • The 2011 ceasefire ending the 5 year Konnou conflict;
  • Increasing engagement with Me’ekamui groups;
  • Progress towards ending the Morgan Junction roadblock. But although Bougainville is more unified than in 2010, much still needs to be done. Unification continues to be essential as we prepare for the referendum.

The ABG’s 2nd task was improving the welfare of all Bougainvilleans, by promoting appropriate economic development.

There’s been progress. Cocoa production is better than expected when the cocoa pod borer arrived. Small-scale gold production has increased. The ABG has 2 new ships. A partnership with a Chinese consortium is doing metal fabrication at Toniva, producing bricks and aggregate using Jaba tailings material, opening a wholesale store in Buka, and creating over 100 jobs.

The K300 million in National Government SIF funds since 2011 has contributed infrastructure, contracts and jobs. Our POGE partnership delivers basic goods at lower prices, starting with rice.We need more broad-based development to bring improvements in people’s lives.

We face obstacles. Attracting credible investors is hard due to the risks of our post-conflict situation, made worse by ongoing law and order problems.Another factor is limited ABG funds. Because of PNG’s fiscal crisis when negotiating the Peace Agreement, the main National Government grants cover only basic costs of delivering services.

We have little internal revenue. The Agreement does provide a Restoration and Development grant, with a formula intended to increase when National budget development expenditure rises.With rising commodity prices, PNG development expenditure increased rapidly from 2005-06.

The grant should now be over K75 million a year, but we’ve got only K15 million most years. Arrears are now well over K400 million. The National Government SIF funds since 2011 are helpful. But as conditional grants, they are no substitute for the Restoration and Development Grant.

The ABG has been trying for three years to get the Peace Agreement provisions on this grant honoured. We must pursue this matter vigorously.Although finding appropriate foreign investors is an important goal, we also recognise that Bougainvilleans are hard-working people. We can expand our economy by building on things our people are already familiar with, such as:

  • Moving from copra to virgin coconut oil;
  • Serious efforts on downstream cocoa processing;
  • Increased seaweed production;
  • More small-scale gold production, and assisting producers to invest in appropriate machinery for more safe and efficient production
  • Producing house bricks, as is already happening using Jaba River tailings.

The ABG’s third major task is securing Bougainville’s future by full implementation of the Peace Agreement, which means:

The radical new Bougainville Mining Act means any new mining will be on totally different terms from under the Bougainville Copper Agreement. The biggest protection is that no development will be possible unless both landowners and the ABG are satisfied with all the conditions for mining.

It is certainly possible Panguna will not re-open, if landowners oppose it, or if BCL don’t return and alternative developers can’t be found. But other communities want mining exploration and those possibilities will be evaluated.

Under our March 2015 Bougainville Mining Act, customary land owners also own minerals. They can reject mining exploration and development. So Panguna will not re-open without landowner agreement. That means clear agreement by a clear majority of landowners, with no manipulation of consent.

Our only realistic option for rapid fiscal self reliance and improved levels of services is large-scale mining. Re-opening the Panguna mine would provide the best chance of early revenue, as it could open in 6 or 7 years. Alternative new mining projects would take from 15 to 30 years from exploration to production.

The referendum timetable places pressure on us to achieve fiscal self reliance rapidly. Our annual budget is over K300 million, but internally derived revenue is only about K30 million. Gradual economic expansion will not deliver self-reliance (covering costs of current services) as well as providing the much improved levels of services Bougainvilleans both expect and deserve.

Cheap and reliable power will be vital for such projects, as well as for improving the lives of people by village electrification. So the 3rd ABG will work towards a hydro-electric grid. Two hydro projects are already in progress, one at Togerau, and one on the Ramazon River, funded by the ADB.

Our Chinese joint venture plans one at Toniva. These projects must progress as soon as possible. I will discuss support for the Togerau project with its main organiser, Sam Akoitai. I will seek funding for a scoping study for developing the hydro-electric grid.

Promoting these and similar activities will be a key priority of a new Ministry of Economic Development that my Government will establish.

Achieving full autonomy,

and  Preparing for the referendum, and

Achieving complete weapons disposal.

Several options have been discussed for setting the date. Although I’ve suggested considering 2019, I’m open to all possibilities. I will consult widely on the issue, with both the new ABG and the Bougainville community.I have strong views on the process to be used to set the referendum date.

The Peace Agreement clearly states that maximum period for delay of the referendum is 15 years after the ABG is established, which is mid-2020.

That maximum delay cannot be extended except on a decision by the ABG. Weapons and governance can be considered when deciding the date between 2015 and 2020, but they cannot be used to delay the referendum beyond 2020.

Suggestions at the National level that the referendum could be delayed beyond 2020 on the grounds of weapons or governance are a matter of grave concern for the ABG. Any such attempt would breach the Peace Agreement. However, I remain optimistic that good sense will prevail, and that the clear meaning of the Peace Agreement and the PNG Constitution will be honoured.                       

We are on the threshold of perhaps the most important, and portentous, five years in our history. To achieve all that is necessary in that period will require:

MY FRIENDS, THERE IS MUCH MORE THAT COULD BE SAID. BUT I HOPE THAT YOU HAVE ALREADY GAINED A SENSE OF THE CHALLENGES THAT FACE US IN BOUGAINVILLE.

At the same time I must point to the need for more coordinated planning of the use of fiscal resources of the ABG, the National Government, the donors, and the Bougainville MPs. Limited coordination causes confused objectives, overlap, and even waste. I propose developing a new mechanism for consulting the National Government, MPs and donors so as to agree both development goals under a rolling plan, and what aspects of the plan each will fund.

There could be considerable pressure on the new ABG to be very restrained in our spending. We will face the major challenge of trying to achieve more while using less funds. I ask all ABG members as well as all other Bougainvilleans to understand these financial difficulties that we face.

The financial resources available to us will of course have a huge impact on what the 3rd ABG can achieve. And although what I have just outlined might suggest that the ABG has plenty of funds available, the truth is otherwise. That’s not only because of the limited funds guaranteed by the Peace Agreement, but also because of the current fiscal problems of the National Government. Those problems are mainly caused by falling natural resource prices. As a result 2015 SIF funds for the ABG expected from Port Moresby may be under threat.

We will explore partnerships with high quality hospitals in other countries. We must aim high, towards our own university, high quality technical colleges, a computer literate population. During the next five years, I will be seeking a massive expansion in Technical and Vocational Education and Training, beginning with development of at least one high quality Technical School.

Development also depends on our population being both healthy and well-educated. So our development plans must seek the highest possible health standards and the best education facilities in the Pacific.

Economic opportunities and good education are also critically important to law and order. For example, semi-educated young men with no employment or business opportunities have been a major factor in our ongoing law and order problems since the early 1980s.

So we must pursue real improvements in health and education, and basic infrastructure too. Economic opportunities, good health and good education all go together. They contribute to our economic development. That then generates the tax revenue needed for fiscal self-reliance.

The ABG also has a sixth major task – to improve basic services.

Since the late 1990 we have made progress in restoring health and education services destroyed during the conflict. But service standards are worse than before the conflict. The ABG must solve the problems faced by our people. Our other efforts mean little if the basic condition of people’s lives don’t improve.

Awareness will need to be a major priority as the referendum approaches. So we will explore options for cost-effective and widely accessed awareness methods.

In the process we learned about the practical difficulties and high expense of conducting awareness and consultation campaigns. The basic truth is that with unlimited funds and personnel, we could do far more. But funds are limited.

The fifth ABG task is public awareness. The 2nd ABG put much effort into awareness and consultation on mining policies, both Panguna, and the Bougainville Mining Act. With awareness of the Peace Agreement, there was much training of staff, but little awareness was actually conducted.

Under the 2nd ABG proposals for reform of the Council of Elders, COEs will be re-named as ‘Community Governments’. Together with custom-based village assemblies, they will have more responsibility for law and order, working more closely with police, administering small-scale mining licences and so on.

Bougainville’s the rule of law situation is generally better than many other parts of PNG. But much more is needed. We need progress on weapons. Our Police Service needs to be more respected and integrated into rural communities, and responsive to local leadership.

In terms of corruption I fear we’ve made little progress. The situation MUST change under the new House. So reform of the Public Service will continue. I will resume efforts to establish an office of the PNG Ombudsman to work with us to establish the highest standards of conduct for leaders and Public Servants.

The fourth task for the ABG is promoting good governance and the rule of law, and ending corruption. In terms of good governance, in general, the processes of the ABG were strengthened, and worked well in the last 5 years. But good governance involves much more than that.

So clearly weapons disposal must be a major priority for the 3rd ABG. So I propose holding a summit of former combatant leaders, including Me’ekamui groups, as well as other sectors of the community, to consider the ways ahead.

Fourth, international community support may be required to encourage implementation of the referendum outcome. We must make sure weapons disposal issues do not undermine international community support.

Third, the National Parliament has the final decision on the outcome of the referendum, and could use weapons issues to decide against independence.

Second, weapons availability could result in referendum observers determining the referendum is not “free and fair”, as required by the Peace Agreement.

First, disagreement between the governments on weapons could push the date back towards mid-2020.

Without much more complete weapons disposal our law and order situation will only get worse, and we risk major problems over implementation of the referendum result. There are four main issues here.

On achieving complete weapons disposal, despite progress on reconciliation there’s been almost no progress since 2005. Weapons not destroyed during the UN supervised disposal process from 2002 to 2005 include those: held by Me’ekamui groups; captured at Kangu Beach in 1996; secretly retained by some BRA and BRF elements; or held by criminals. Since then, some additional weapons have been added, including some WWII and modern weapons

On preparing for the referendum, the 2nd ABG achieved some progress by proposing establishment of a joint government working group, which reported to the JSB. But the real preparatory work begins now, with the election of the 3rd ABG. Key issues remain to be negotiated, including the referendum date, and the question to be asked in the referendum.

With these and other serious problem areas, the key leaders and officers involved are often not aware what the Agreement requires. So the ABG will seek a better understanding so that the Agreement is implemented in full.

Other aspects of the autonomy arrangements have not been fully implemented. The Restoration and Development Grant arrears is one example. Another is failure to appoint the ABG choice of head of the Police in Bougainville (the Agreement requires appointment of the ABG nominee as ACP – something that the Police Commissioner has not ever done).

I will seek the earliest possible National Government agreement on an agreed approach to timely negotiation of the necessary funding to accompany every transferred power.

The key issue is not just transfer. The ABG must also get PNG agreement to funds in the main Recurrent Grant for salaries and operational costs for transferred powers. Without such funds, we have no capacity to use newly transferred powers. Subject to negotiations between the governments, the Peace Agreement guarantees this funding for any newly transferred power.

The 3rd ABG will increase the speed of transfer. Priority areas include: land; environment; mining health and safety; fisheries; incorporation of associations; police; and the ABG’s foreign affairs powers – proposing names on the PNG visa warning list, work permit applications for Bougainville, and so on.

With autonomy, significant new powers were fully transferred through development of many new laws passed, including physical planning, Public Finance Management, Mining, and a separate Bougainville Public Service.

How did the ABG perform in relation to these matters between 2010 and 2015?

  • great unity,
  • a tremendous sense of purpose,
  • intense energy, and

an unwavering commitment to the course we intend to follow.On behalf of all the newly elected members of the 3rd ABG, I commit all of us to work on behalf of all Bougainvilleans to ensure that our common dreams and aspirations are achieved.

Thank you all for joining me in marking this beginning of what I believe will be the most exciting, but also challenging, five years in the history of Bougainville

photo JM 80

Bougainville Elections 2015: Simon Pentanu new ABG speaker full acceptance speech

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“Just as you feel politically responsible in serving your constituency, as Speaker my role and responsibility is to equip and serve you to perform your principle roles as legislators and decision makers in your role as service providers. In other words, our primary interest is the same and that is to serve our people.

As Members of the House this can be best done in four main ways.

One, by strengthening the institution of Parliament. This will take all of us from the President down to the Members to first recognise that in the system of democracy and governance we have chosen the Parliament is the epitome of our democracy as provided for in the Constitution. The Parliament as a body comprising the Peoples representatives is the highest accountable as well oversight body of people domiciled and functioning in a single place. We need to appreciate and add value to this.”

Simon Pentanu Speaker, Autonomous Bougainville Government 2015-2020

See full speech below or Download a copy here

 Acceptance and acknowledgment by Speaker Simon Pentanu AROB 2015

BY SEBASTIAN HAKALITS

THE Autonomous Bougainville Government has a new speaker.

He is former Ombudsman Commissioner and former National Parliament clerk, Simon Pentanu.

Mr Pentanu, from Pokpok Island in Central Bougainville, was voted in by the members of the 3rd ABG house after the swearing in of the new member’s yesterday (Monday) morning at the parliament chamber.

A speaker of the parliament is voted in by the members and must be from outside of parliament whereas the deputy speaker must be a member of the House.

Only two candidates were nominated by the parliament members and Mr Pentanu was nominated by parliament members from the Central regional committee while Andrew Miriki, former ABG parliament speaker, was nominated by the South regional committee.

A secret ballot voting was conducted by the 40 members of the house and Mr Pentanu was declared the Speaker after surpassing the absolute majority of 20+1, scoring 23 votes while Mr Miriki scored only 17 votes.

Mr Pentanu thanked the former speaker and the members for making the decision to elect him as the new speaker and said he does not represent any constituency but represents the members who represent the people.

“The parliament is my constituency and my role a responsibility is to serve you the members in decision making and the parliament is a highest body for the people and is an institution to uphold democracy, laws and tradition of the people…,” he said.

After taking his seat front of the chamber Mr Pentanu then proceeded to conduct the secret ballot voting for the deputy speaker that was won by Francisca Semoso, who is the North Bougainville Women’s member, against Christopher Kenna, who is member for Lato constituency in South Bougainville with 28 votes to 12.

ACCEPTANCE AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Simon Gregory Pentanu

Speaker of the House of Representatives

Autonomous Region of Bougainville

Kubu

15 June 2015

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Honourable Members,

I am going to break from convention and tradition that new Speakers often follow to script when they are elected to assume the Speaker’s Chair as I am doing today.

To start with let me begin, on your behalf and on my own behalf, by acknowledging and paying respect to all the local clans on Buka, the traditional custodians of this Island – especially  here in Tsitalato constituency – where we are meeting today and where this House, the highest decision making body, is situated at this time.

In saying this I thank all Members, including the President, for exercising your individual choices to arrive at a collective decision in appointing me to assume the role of Speaker. What we just witnessed with the Clerk chairing the first business of the House was a very democratic process in which the Speaker was elected through a secret ballot.

In thanking you and acknowledging your decision I wish to say what is important to recognise is, regardless of how or where a Member voted in making their decision during the ballot, the appointment of the  Speaker is the choice of the House.

As Speaker my allegiance is to the House and to all Members irrespective of what region, constituencies, special interest or gender you represent.

I may be from Central Bougainville, I may have been nominated by the Central regional committee. Yes, making a choice to reflect a fair regional representation is important in fostering the spirit of unity. Yes, unity of purpose and united approach has been the hallmark of peace building and reconciliation efforts all along in getting to where we are today. We all well know this. And yes, we should also remind ourselves on occasions like today the Bougainville Constitutional Commission gave a lot of thought, consideration and credence to a fair and equitable representation in the spoils of office during its arduous task in drafting  the Bougainville Constitution.

I feel humbled and honoured and at the same time proud to be the one saying this. On the other hand, or should I say by the same token, I would also rather like to think – and I am sure many honourable Members  also share this view – that any Bougainvillean that is appointed by the House as its Speaker is done largely on the candidate’s merits.

The Speaker does not represent a geographical or electoral constituency. But it is important to point out that he or she is appointed by the people through their representatives in this House.

In a very real way then, the Parliament is my constituency. The Members are my constituents.

Just as you feel politically responsible in serving your constituency, as Speaker my role and responsibility is to equip and serve you to perform your principle roles as legislators and decision makers in your role as service providers. In other words, our primary interest is the same and that is to serve our people.

As Members of the House this can be best done in four main ways.

One, by strengthening the institution of Parliament. This will take all of us from the President down to the Members to first recognise that in the system of democracy and governance we have chosen the Parliament is the epitome of our democracy as provided for in the Constitution. The Parliament as a body comprising the Peoples representatives is the highest accountable as well oversight body of people domiciled and functioning in a single place. We need to appreciate and add value to this.

Two, the Parliament is an institution that will best function and deliver the values that we aspire to in our democracy only when its constituent parts are well resourced, well served and well articulated and assisted to perform your political roles. This includes meaningful participation in decision-making in Parliament through debates, through parliamentary committees which are an extension of the Parliament and through your direct engagement with the people.

Three, in building and strengthening the Parliament through you as members, the Speaker’s role in the Bougainville Parliament is not one of just a Presiding Officer or Chairman of meetings of the House. I will call on all my previous experience as a parliamentary officer and Clerk of a the Parliament of a successful sovereign nation, an experience that extends over 25 years.  With this experience and background I am confident this places in a position to ensure that the management and administration of the parliamentary service is above board and that everything we do is transparent.

Four, it is important there are close and meaningful consultations with the Speaker and the Clerk with the Executive in planning and appropriating sufficient resources to allow better and more proactive roles by members in serving their constituents and in maintaining an effective and efficient functioning Parliament.

Might I also add that the House as well as the Executive needs to start paying more attention to the Members representing Women and Former Combatants who have been elected to their respective reserved seats. The Bougainville Constitutional Commission was very deliberate in including this provision of reserved seats in the Parliament. The Parliament and the Government must give practical effect to enhance the participatory and decision-making roles that women continue to play and that former combatants can bring to bear in resolving and bringing to closure many issues that remain to be addressed and attended to.

Honourable Members,

Today, June 15 2015 marks the third anniversary of ABG. How and where we start in performing our roles in this Third House of Representatives will determine how much we improve and achieve at the end of the next 5 year term starting today.

Let me take this opportunity to thank my immediate predecessor, former Speaker Hon Andrew Miriki for his services in providing leadership in this role in the last two Houses. It is a service to duty to the Parliament and to the People that is worth mentioning and putting on record. I have followed Speaker Miriki and he can be well proud of his leadership and chairmanship that saw the passage of a number important legislations which are further steps towards implementing both  political and financial autonomy. This includes the passage through Parliament of the various stages of the mining legislation.

Similarly, I wish to put on record our thanks and appreciation to the pioneer Speaker of the House Mr Nick Peniai. Mr Peniai who took on the task as first Speaker of the first House with great optimism and enthusiasm. I can say this because after assuming office he sought advice and consulted with a number of us quite extensively. The most important achievement during Speaker Peniai’s tenure was the admission of the Bougainville House of Representatives as a full member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

Honourable Members,

As Speaker, I give you my assurance that as head of the legislative arm and as Presiding Officer I will perform to the best of my ability in upholding and protecting the values of this institution.

In saying so, I  also stress my conviction that this is only possible if we all work together. I will be a working Speaker. However, I must repeat that we can only achieve any goals and objectives by working for each other but more importantly by working with each other.

We will do this with decorum, integrity, dignity, transparency, accountability, honesty and hopefully with an acute sense of purpose. While the Speaker is expected to maintain independence in office this independence should not be confused with isolation. I will keep my lines of communication open to allow for meaningful consultations and discussions with all Members.

Finally, I congratulate the President, members elected to the open constituencies, members elected to the reserved seats for women and former combatants for winning your respective seats. Among us today we have for the first time a woman who has won her seat in an open constituency seat.

I thank you all for placing your trust and confidence in appointing me as Speaker for this third House of Representatives  2015 – 2020.

May God bless this House and bless all of us to be worthy servants of and for our people.

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Bougainville Inauguration Day 2005-2015 : United Nation original report

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Today marks the 10th anniversary of inauguration of Autonomous Bougainville Government and the swearing in of  3rd House of Representatives.

It is also the 800 th Anniversary of the Magna Carta ” the Charter of Liberties

Todays program in Buka

New Microsoft Word Document

At the United Nations 10 years ago

UN

HeDanilo Türk, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, told the Security Council this that 62 per cent of the electorate had convincingly selected Joseph Kabui, former President of the Bougainville People’s Congress, whose approach recognized human rights and focused on meeting the basic needs of the people at the grass-roots level. 

There now remained the third main pillar of the peace agreements –- the holding of a referendum on Bougainville’s future status.  Included in the referendum would be a choice of separate independence, and the final decision on that outcome would be left to Papua New Guinea’s Parliament and subsequent consultations with the Autonomous Bougainville Government

5222nd Meeting (AM) 2005

FOLLOWING 15 JUNE INAUGURATION OF BOUGAINVILLE’S AUTONOMOUS GOVERNMENT,

UNITED NATIONS MANDATE FULLY IMPLEMENTED, SECURITY COUNCIL TOLD

Assistant Secretary-General Briefs on Successful Elections;

Culmination of Peace Process Begun in 1997 after Brutal Civil Conflict

The mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Papua New Guinea had been implemented fully and the parties had taken the most significant step in the Bougainville peace agreement, Danilo Türk, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, told the Security Council this morning.

Providing an update on developments since 7 April, when the Council last heard a briefing on the situation in Bougainville, he said that, following the establishment of the Autonomous Government –- inaugurated on 15 June — that entity and the Government of Papua New Guinea would deal with matters relating to implementation of the peace agreement and the national constitution through already established procedures.  Mechanisms were also in place to deal with any disagreements that might emerge.  While it was up to Bougainville’s Autonomous Government to plan its priorities, the two Governments intended to work together in addressing future challenges.

Regarding weapons disposal, he said the parties had been informed in May that the weapons disposal agreement had been implemented with the destruction of more than 2,000 arms.  The United Nations Observer Mission in Bougainville (UNOMB) had determined that a substantial level of compliance had been achieved by the parties and that, consequently, the security situation on the ground was conducive to the holding of elections as planned from May through June.  The Papua New Guinea Government, in concurrence with the Bougainville leaders, had asked the United Nations to coordinate the work of the international electoral observers, and the United Nations election coordination unit had been set up in response.  It had provided extensive briefings to electoral observers prior to their deployment in Bougainville and, in close cooperation with the Mission, it had also facilitated the movement by helicopter of observers to most of the constituencies throughout Bougainville.

In addition, the United Nations had also supported the airlifting of polling boxes, electoral officers and observers, thereby ensuring the timely and orderly conduct of the elections, he said.  International observers from Australia, Fiji, Japan, New Zealand and elsewhere, as well as representatives of the Commonwealth and Pacific Islands Forum secretariats, had participated.  Despite some minor reported incidents, all eligible voters had been given the opportunity to vote in a calm and peaceful environment, and the outcome had reflected accurately the will of the people of Bougainville.

He said that 62 per cent of the electorate had convincingly selected Joseph Kabui, former President of the Bougainville People’s Congress, whose approach recognized human rights and focused on meeting the basic needs of the people at the grass-roots level.  There now remained the third main pillar of the peace agreements –- the holding of a referendum on Bougainville’s future status.  Included in the referendum would be a choice of separate independence, and the final decision on that outcome would be left to Papua New Guinea’s Parliament and subsequent consultations with the Autonomous Bougainville Government.

The war in Bougainville had been little noticed, but brutal, he said, noting that some 15,000 people had lost their lives between the 1980s and 1990s.  The conflict had started over the use of natural resources, but had developed features seen in conflicts in many parts of the world, including a mixture of military and criminal objectives and the suffering of innocent people.  The peace process had begun in 1997, and the peace agreement of 2001 finally offered an opportunity for healing.

Also addressing the Council, the representative of Papua New Guinea said that practical peacebuilding in Bougainville was obviously not yet complete, pointing out that peace and good governance required ongoing attention and effort, if they were to be part of the legacy to succeeding generations.  Papua New Guinea was pleased to note the continuing presence of United Nations personnel on the ground, which helped to remove any doubt or uncertainty about whether the international community was still concerned and would continue to be involved after the United Nations Observer Mission in Bougainville (UNOMB) had completed its mandate.  It was for that reason that the appropriate bodies should consider retaining the Mission’s existing assets in Bougainville, and handing them on to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other arms of the Organization that would continue to operate in Bougainville.

New Zealand’s representative expressed deep appreciation for the work of UNOMB, saying that even by United Nations standards Bougainville had been a difficult operating environment due to its remoteness.  Nevertheless, the United Nations had succeeded in establishing a light and responsive presence, which had usefully complemented regional initiatives, including the New Zealand-led Truce Monitoring Group and its successor, the Australian-led Peace Monitoring Group.  The United Nations Mission had been a good example of a successful, demand-driven United Nations action in the field, and New Zealand was particularly grateful for the contributions of United Nations staff both from the Department of Political Affairs and those who had served in Bougainville itself.

Australia’s representative said that the continuous presence of the United Nations in Bougainville for more than seven years had been an important source of reassurance and support.  Australia had been pleased to have worked alongside the United Nations and regional partners, and remained strongly committed to efforts to ensure lasting peace and development in Bougainville, including by working with the agencies and programmes of the United Nations.

Before adjourning the meeting, Adamantios Th. Vassilakis (Greece), Council President for the month of July, expressed members’ thanks and appreciation to Assistant Secretary-General Türk for his cooperation with them and wished him the best in his future endeavours.

Other speakers included the representatives of Japan, Brazil, Philippines, Russian Federation, China, United Republic of Tanzania, Romania, Argentina, United States, France, United Kingdom, Algeria, Denmark, Benin and Greece.

The meeting began at 10:20 a.m. and ended at 12 noon.

Background

The Security Council met this morning to consider the situation in Bougainville, for which it was expected to hear a briefing by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Danilo Türk.

Briefing Summary

DANILO TÜRK, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, updated the Council on developments since the last briefing on the situation on 7 April.  He was pleased to report on behalf of the Secretary-General that the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Papua New Guinea had been “fully implemented” and the parties had taken the most significant step in the Bougainville peace agreement.  He proceeded to summarize the main developments since 7 April and he highlighted the challenges facing the Autonomous Bougainville Government, which had been inaugurated on 15 June.

Turning to weapons disposal, he said that the parties had been informed in May that the weapons disposal agreement had been implemented with the destruction of more than 2,000 arms.  The Observer Mission had determined that a substantial level of compliance by the parties had been achieved and that, consequently, the security situation on the ground was conducive to the holding of elections as planned.  Concerning the elections, the national Government of Papua New Guinea, in concurrence with the Bougainville leaders, had asked the United Nations to coordinate the work of the international electoral observers.  The United Nations election coordination unit was set up in response. It provided extensive briefings to electoral observers prior to their deployment in Bougainville, and, in close cooperation with the United Nations Mission, it facilitated the movement by helicopter the observers to most of the constituencies throughout Bougainville.

In addition, he explained that the United Nations had also supported the airlifting of polling boxes, electoral officers and observers, thereby ensuring the elections’ timely and orderly conduct.  International observers from Australia, Fiji, Japan, New Zealand and elsewhere, as well as representatives of the Commonwealth and Pacific Islands Forum Secretariats, had participated.  Despite some minor reported incidents, all eligible voters had been given the opportunity to vote in a calm and peaceful environment, and the outcome had accurately reflected the will of the people of Bougainville.  Sixty-two per cent of the whole electorate had convincingly selected the former President of the Bougainville People’s Congress, whose approach recognized human rights and focused on meeting the basic needs of the people at the grass-roots level.

On 14 June, the parties to the peace agreements convened a final meeting of the peace process consultative committee, which resolved that its objectives under the agreements had been achieved, he noted.  They agreed to dissolve the committee and, in so doing, had expressed sincere appreciation for the United Nations Observer Mission in Bougainville (UNOMB).  Following the establishment of the Autonomous Government, relations would now be managed through the permanent joint supervisory body.  With that, the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the Papua New Guinea national Government would deal with matters related to implementation of the peace agreement and the national constitution through already established procedures.  Mechanisms were also in place to deal with any disagreements that might emerge.  While it was up to the Autonomous Bougainville Government to plan its priorities, the Governments intended to work together to address future challenges.

He said that, following completion of the weapons disposal and the current implementation of the autonomous arrangements, there remained the third main pillar of the peace agreements –- the holding of a referendum on Bougainville’s status in another 10 to 15 years.  Included in the referendum would be a choice of separate independence for Bougainville.  The final decision on the outcome would be left to Papua New Guinea’s Parliament and subsequent consultations with the Bougainville Government.  Mr. Türk also detailed the involvement of the wider United Nations system in the peacebuilding tasks, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The war in Bougainville had been little noticed, but brutal, he said.  Some 15,000 people had lost their lives in the conflict of the 1980s and 1990s.  The conflict had started over the use of natural resources, but it developed features seen in conflicts in many parts of the world, including a mixture of military and criminal objectives and the suffering of innocent people.  The peace process began in 1997, and the peace agreement of 2001 finally offered an opportunity for healing.  Reconciliation and restorative justice had been essential.  For the United Nations, that process had been a learning experience and one which taught a great deal about post-conflict peacebuilding and the need to fully respect and incorporate local culture and traditions.  The classical approach had been “breaking spears and mending hearts”, but now the United Nations system had developed additional elements.  The foundations established so far gave reason to believe that the United Nations system, with the support of donor countries, would again be able to help.

Statements

KENZO OSHIMA (Japan) stressed that it had been through the efforts of the people of Bougainville and the Government of Papua New Guinea that a satisfactory outcome had been achieved.  The Government of Japan paid tribute to them for their accomplishments and expressed its best wishes to the President and other elected officials, as they began to undertake future efforts for sustainable peace and the region’s economic development.  Japan had been part of international and regional assistance in the form of a dispatch of monitors and the provision of necessary equipment through grant aid.

While the successful outcome of the elections marked a turning point in the peace process there, challenges remained, he said.  First and foremost, the strengthening of law and order in the region was a top priority.  Even after the inauguration of the Autonomous Government, the security situation continued to be fragile.  If law and order were to be firmly established, international cooperation was required, such as for the improvement of the police force and the retrieval of uncollected weapons in the “No-Go Zone”.

Second, sustained economic development of Bougainville was critically important for the region, he stressed.  The continued commitment of assistance by the international community would be required until such time that the economy became more self-sufficient.  And such support should come not only from within the region, but also from the broader range of countries.  Japan, through close consultation with the Papua New Guinea Government, would remain committed to continued support and economic and technical cooperation in areas where the needs were greatest, such as infrastructure, education and health.

Third, the promotion of reconciliation with those remaining in the No-Go Zone was equally important, he said.  For the stability of Bougainville to be sustained, all the people in the region should employ the benefits of peace, and participation in the Autonomous Government should be inclusive.  To that end, the Mekamui should respect the results of the elections and actively cooperate with the Government for the economic development of their region.

HENRIQUE VALLE (Brazil), joining previous speakers in welcoming the first general elections and wishing the best to the new elected authorities, said that winning the peace was quite often more difficult and challenging than winning a conflict.  In the case of Bougainville, there were neither winners nor losers.  The Autonomous Bougainville Government to be led by President Joseph Kabui inaugurated a new phase in the implementation of the peace agreement.  Brazil recognized the essential role played by the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Bougainville leaders to solve their differences in a consistent and mutually acceptable manner.

He urged all those who had freely chosen not to participate in the electoral process to respect the outcome of the free and fair elections and invited all Bougainvilleans to join efforts to support the new elected Government in its peacebuilding initiatives.  He also paid special tribute to other international partners to a peaceful resolution to the unfortunately bloody conflict, namely, the Commonwealth and the countries of the region, including members of the Pacific Islands Forum.

As recognized in the presidential statement adopted by the Security Council on 15 June, he said, the experiences of the United Nations Political Office in Bougainville (UNPOB) and the United Nations Observer Mission in Bougainville (UNOMB) constituted quite successful examples of how the constitution of United Nations political missions, although extremely small, but with clear mandates and benefiting from the acceptance of the local political actors, could provide an invaluable contribution to the peaceful resolution of regional conflicts, in an efficient and effective manner.  Brazil called upon the international financial institutions, the donor community and the United Nations specialized agencies to assist the local actors and the Government of Papua New Guinea in the pursuit of their economic and social development goals, which were essential for a sustainable peace in the region.

LAURO L. BAJA (Philippines) said that Bougainville was an example of the key role played by the United Nations in encouraging and implementing the peace agreement forged by the conflicting parties.  It had not been an easy road.  From the time the United Nations was requested by the Government of Papua New Guinea to play a role in the peace process and the United Nations established the United Nations Political Office in Bougainville (UNPOB) in August 1998, the United Nations had been at the forefront of the peace and reconciliation process, acting as mediator to the parties to the conflict.  It had supervised the weapons disposal programme, thereby contributing significantly to the stabilization of the security situation.  That, in turn, had provided the climate conductive for the elections.

He noted that the United Nations had also contributed to the political aspect of the peace process by overseeing implementation of the constitutional process leading to the adoption of the Constitution of the Autonomous Government and elections preparations.  The two successive United Nations missions, though small, had clearly demonstrated the critical contribution that a United Nations special political mission with a clear mandate could make to a regional conflict resolution.  He commended the people of Bougainville and the Autonomous Bougainville Government for the successful conduct of the first general elections for President and House of Representatives, held from 20 May to 9 June.  That had indeed been a milestone in the peace process and opened a new stage for further implementation of the peace agreement.

ANDREY DENISOV (Russian Federation) welcomed the efforts of the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Bougainvillean leaders for the timely implementation of their obligations.  The Russian Federation also congratulated UNOMB and its predecessor, UNPOB, for their efforts.

He said the Autonomous Government needed assistance in providing long-term capacity-building, and it was to be hoped that the relevant specialized United Nations agencies, as well as other regional and international bodies, would help in that regard.  The Russian Federation also offered best wishes for the future to Assistant Secretary-General Türk, who would be ending his tenure as Assistant Secretary-General.

ZHANG YISHAN (China) said he was pleased to note that over the last month the general elections of the President and the Autonomous Government and House of Representatives had been held successfully and the elected leaders and representatives had been sworn in smoothly.  He congratulated the Autonomous Government and the people of Bougainville and expressed his appreciation for the unremitting efforts of the Government of Papua New Guinea to implement the peace agreement.  Today’s meeting was the last in the Council to deliberate on the issue of Bougainville.  He congratulated the Council for having successfully concluded its mission in the Bougainville peace process.  He also congratulated the two United Nations missions, which, over the years, had done a great job, including by establishing credibility and trust among the parties to the peace process.

He said that those missions had also represented a model for small United Nations missions in handling regional conflicts.  It had brought credit to the United Nations and shown a useful light on how to improve peacebuilding efforts in the year of reform.  In the new historical phase, reconstruction would not be easy, given the challenging tasks facing the Autonomous Government.  He sincerely hoped that the Government would live up to the expectations of its people and remain committed to political reconciliation and economic development.  He urged the different political forces in Bougainville to respect the choices of the people and support the Autonomous Government in its work.  He also called on the international community to remain interested in helping Bougainville to upgrade its governance and effectively improve the lives of its people.

AUGUSTINE MAHIGA (United Republic of Tanzania) congratulated Joseph Kabui and the newly elected members of the Bougainville House of Representatives on their success in the elections, as well as the Government and people of Papua New Guinea for their understanding and cooperation that had enabled the elections for the presidency and the Bougainville legislature to proceed competently, transparently and peacefully, as certified by the international observer mission.

He expressed the hope that the newly inaugurated Bougainville Government would honour the commitments made during the elections to find ways to keep other leaders, including competing candidates, actively involved in contributing to the country’s common aspirations.  In the same spirit, the new leadership should seek to form an inclusive government, drawing on the experience, commitment and abilities of other leaders.

Bougainville faced many future challenges, including the need to develop an administrative capacity and an economy capable of sustaining autonomy by providing the people with the opportunities for self-advancement and wider community prosperity.  As the Autonomous Government took office, it was to be hoped that it would maintain close cooperation and understanding with the National Government to ensure that the agreed arrangements for Bougainville autonomy operated efficiently for their mutual interest and accommodation.

MIHNEA IOAN MOTOC (Romania) concurred that the successful elections and establishment of the new Autonomous Government allowed for a natural ending of the United Nations mission and the effective discharge of its mandate.  He emphasized the need for ongoing international assistance at a meaningful level, including by United Nations agencies and programmes.  Aid was still necessary for the rehabilitation and capacity-building efforts of the Bougainville authorities, with a view to consolidating the progress achieved so far.

He expressed his appreciation for all the efforts undertaken by the Government of Papua New Guinea, as well as the Bougainville parties, in the peace process.  He also commended the role played by the countries of the region, as well as by the United Nations’ specialized agencies and the international donors, in supporting the peace process and turning Bougainville into a success story.  Bougainville set a positive example for the possibility of success of United Nations peacekeeping missions at a time when the international community was debating the United Nations reform process, aiming to improve its effectiveness and relevance for protecting freedom and improving lives.

CESAR MAYORAL (Argentina) said that the latest developments in Bougainville were significant landmarks in the peace process and allowed the international community to move forward with the implementation of sustainable development.  Argentina was grateful to countries of the region, as well as the donor community, for their important contributions.  While the present stage of United Nations participation had been successfully concluded, Bougainville must now embark on a new phase of consolidation.  The recent results achieved had added considerably to the past investment made by the international community.  The people of Bougainville and the Government of Papua New Guinea should now embark on the task of consolidating the peace, as well as on economic and social development.

GERALD SCOTT (United States) said that the inauguration of the first Autonomous Government in Bougainville marked a milestone, after a decade of conflict.  The international electoral monitoring team had reported no significant violence or intimidation during the elections of 31 May, despite the absence of foreign police or military support.  To the credit of the people of Bougainville, the elections came off without undue disruption or fraud.  The successful inauguration of the new Government was one of the last steps in the peace process.  He congratulated the President-elect and members of the House of Representatives and wished them success in fulfilling the aspirations of the people of Bougainville.

He called on the elected representatives to respect the democratic outcome of the elections and to cooperate constructively with the legitimate new Government for a peaceful and prosperous future.  At the same time, he commended the Government of Papua New Guinea for its commitment to the peace agreement’s full implementation.  That would not have been possible without the support of the international community, especially the PacificIsland countries and Forum, as well as the Security Council’s engagement.  The United Nations Political Office in Bougainville and its successor had also played key roles, deserving of the Council’s special thanks.  Hopefully, years of hard work and conflict resolution would yield lasting peace in Bougainville.

JEAN-MARC DE LA SABLIÈRE (France) commended the holding of the first elections in Bougainville, which were an expression of the will of its people, marking a historical turning point.  France appreciated the contributions of countries of the region to the peace process, as well as the efforts of UNOMB, whose mandate had expired on 30 June.  At the present stage, there was a need to ensure that there was good coordination between the efforts of United Nations specialized agencies, as well as international and regional players who would play an important role in peacebuilding and in promoting consolidation.

ROSMARY DAVIS (United Kingdom) said that the successor mission in Bougainville had been one of the smallest, but also one of the most successful.  She also recognized the central role played by the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Bougainville parties, as well as that of neighbouring States and the Bougainville people, culminating in last month’s elections.  While those had signalled the end of the political role of the United Nations in Bougainville, there remained a sizeable role for the international community in consolidating the gains and helping the Autonomous Government and people face up to the future challenges.

She said she looked forward to the sustained engagement and support of the United Nations system, neighbouring States and the donor community. Reconstruction and development should now be given a high priority.  She also welcomed the President’s commitment to tackle the growing problem of HIV/AIDS, which, if not contained, had the ability to undermine Bougainville’s prosperity.

MOURAD BENMEHIDI (Algeria) said that, since the signing of the peace agreement, the peace process had undergone considerable success.  He welcomed the holding of the elections last month and the selection of President and members of the House of Representatives.  He paid particular tribute to the political will and constructive attitude of the Government of Papua New Guinea and Bougainville leaders.  It was now important for peace and stability to take hold and be maintained.  He supported international efforts, particularly the important contributions of the countries of the region, the donor partners, and the United Nations system.  He asked them to continue to assist post-conflict reconstruction.  The international community must pursue its efforts to assist the people and Government of Bougainville to improve economic development and ensure stability.  He congratulated all for the successful implementation of the peace agreement.

ELLEN MARGRETHE LØJ (Denmark) said her country was encouraged by the latest developments in the political process.  The swearing in of the new Autonomous Government marked another milestone for the Bougainville peace process, and Denmark encouraged the new Government to continue on its way back towards peace and the rule of law.  In addition, Denmark commended the constructive role played by Papua New Guinea.

She said Bougainville’s success would not be complete until its social and economic development was on the right track.  Assistance was irreplaceable and would be a prerequisite for further progress.  Without commitment, regional cooperation and the involvement of the United Nations, peace and development could not prevail.

JEAN-FRANCIS RÉGIS ZINSOU (Benin) said the United Nations had just made a clear and undisputed success with the steps taken to ensure ongoing mediation and in extracting a new and trusting relationship between the parties involved in the Bougainville peace process.  Each phase had been marked by genuine challenges, and the process had succeeded because those challenges had been met, under the watchful eye of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and UNOMB.

He thanked the donors who had met their obligations, adding that the United Nations needed to draw lessons from the Bougainville peace process.  However, the completion of the peace process had not met all the challenges, as the parties needed to ensure the viability of the new Autonomous Government and strengthen the regional autonomy regime so as to reduce its heavy dependence on subsidies from the central Government.  Benin was confident that the new Government would best manage its relationship with those in the No-Go Zone, so that the collection of arms still in circulation there could be completed.

ADAMANTIOS TH. VASSILAKIS (Greece), in his national capacity, thanked Mr. Türk for his final briefing on the work of UNOMB.  Today’s meeting was intended to officially celebrate the successful completion of the Mission’s mandate on 30 June.  He joined other speakers in paying tribute to its vital contribution to consolidating peace and democratic governance in the province.  The road to peace and democracy had been long for the people of Bougainville.  In their journey, however, they had had a most faithful and reliable ally:  UNOMB, which had effectively chaired the peace process consultative committee, facilitated dialogue between the rival parties, and contributed to the successful conclusion of the weapons disposal plan and the destruction of some 2,000 weapons.  He commended the members of UNOMB on their dedication to the cause of peace and their overall work, and wished the people of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea a prosperous and peaceful future.

ROSEMARY BANKS (New Zealand) said that since the signing of the Bougainville peace process in 1997, her country had welcomed the steps forward and urged the parties to address issues where progress had lagged.  New Zealand had, on several occasions, encouraged Security Council members to approve extensions to the small United Nations political mission in Bougainville that had been on the ground since 1998.  It was with pleasure, therefore, that New Zealand marked the end of the work of UNOMB.  The successful and peaceful conduct of the elections meant that UNOMB could exit having discharged its mandate fully.  Past and present members of the Security Council could feel vindicated that their decision to extend that mandate had indeed been the right one.

She expressed deep appreciation for the work of UNOMB, saying that even by United Nations standards Bougainville had been a difficult operating environment due to its remoteness.  Nevertheless, the United Nations had succeeded in establishing a light and responsive presence, which had usefully complemented regional initiatives, including the New Zealand-led Truce Monitoring Group and its successor, the Australian-led Peace Monitoring Group.  The United Nations Mission had been a good example of a successful, demand-driven United Nations action in the field, and New Zealand was particularly grateful for the contributions of United Nations staff both from the Department of Political Affairs and those who had served in Bougainville itself.  Their commitment had been a major factor in the success of the United Nations Mission.

JOHN DAUTH (Australia) recalled that Bougainville had been one of the South Pacific’s longest-running and bloodiest conflicts.  From 1989 to 1998, an estimated 10,000 to 18,000 people died as a result of the conflict, and of a population of approximately 200,000, up to 70,000 people had been displaced from their homes into care centres and camps.  Establishment of the Autonomous Government last month, following successful elections, had been a momentous event in the process of establishing and consolidating peace in Bougainville.  The UNOMB had been small, but it made a strong contribution to the peace process.

He recalled that, at the request of the signatories to the 2001 peace agreement –- and in partnership with the Australian-led Peace Monitoring Group -– the Mission had assisted in implementing a weapons disposal plan, which had significantly enhanced trust among the parties.  The Mission had also been mandated to announce whether the security situation was conducive to holding the election.  It made that announcement in May.  The continuous presence of the United Nations in Bougainville for more than seven years had been an important source of reassurance and support.  He congratulated the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Bougainville leaders.  His country had been pleased to have worked alongside the United Nations and regional partners, and it remained strongly committed to efforts to ensure lasting peace and development in Bougainville, including by working with the agencies and programmes of the United Nations.

ROBERT AISI (Papua New Guinea) said today was a day for which people throughout Papua New Guinea and the international community had been working, hoping and praying:  the day when UNPOB/UNOMB completed its assignment.  Almost seven years after its establishment, that day had finally arrived.  It was an occasion for celebration by everyone involved — the people of Bougainville who had experienced both conflict and now peace; their fellow citizens around Papua New Guinea; as well as friends of the peace process at the United Nations and in Member States.

However, practical peacebuilding in Bougainville was obviously not yet complete, he pointed out.  Peace and good governance required ongoing attention and effort if they were to be sustained and made part of a legacy to succeeding generations.  But, so far at least, the peace process in the newly autonomous region was a success and would require continuing commitments to keep it that way.  The United Nations could be truly proud of the role it had played on the ground, as could the Member States who had contributed truce and peace monitors at an earlier stage –- Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and Vanuatu.

He said the peace process had been a people’s process at every stage — from the truce reached almost eight years ago, through the entry into force of the permanent and irrevocable ceasefire, to the negotiation and signing of the Bougainville Peace Agreement in August 2001, to the making and adoption of the Bougainville Constitution just before last Christmas, weapons disposal and now the election of the Autonomous Government.  It was also a source of its strength, as was the depth of the commitment that successive national governments had shown to the principle of working to secure lasting peace by peaceful means — and doing so on a bipartisan, national basis.

The people at the grass-roots and the national leadership had been well matched, he said.  Having experienced the losses, suffering and pains of a violent conflict, they had cooperated for the sake of peace.  While there had been occasional setbacks and delays, there had been no turning back.  The people’s involvement explained both the strength and the time the process had taken.  In that regard, Papua New Guinea, on behalf of the all parties involved in the peace process, offered sincere thanks for the understanding and patience of its friends in the international community and for the willingness of the Security Council and the Secretary-General to agree to repeated extensions of UNPOB/UNOMB’s mandate.

He said that the national Government congratulated President Joseph Kabui, the Vice-President, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Bougainville House of Representatives, the newly appointed ministers and all other elected members.  The Government was especially pleased to note that a senior minister and the Deputy Speaker were women.  The election of a number of former combatants as constituency members was a further, positive sign that peace and normalcy were no longer just dreams.  However, challenges remained, including developing an economy capable of sustaining autonomy; promoting the kinds of development that would provide opportunities for individuals and communities to help themselves; encouraging and facilitating ongoing reconciliation and mutual respect in the community; and ensuring good governance so that the first two objectives, as well as others, could be achieved.

Papua New Guinea was pleased, he said, to note the continuing presence of United Nations personnel on the ground, not as participants in a peace process, but as partners in building the capacity for a better future.  Their presence helped to remove any doubt or uncertainty about whether the international community was still concerned and would continue to be involved after UNOMB had completed its mandated.  It was for that reason that the appropriate bodies should consider retaining the Mission’s existing assets in Bougainville, and handing them on to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other arms of the Organization that would continue to operate in Bougainville.  A continued United Nations presence in Arawa, in particular, would help provide assurance in the area where the Bougainville crisis had begun — close to the area that Francis Ona and his supporters continued to regard as a No-Go Zone exclusive to themselves and those to whom they allowed entry and transit.  The mention of Francis Ona and his supporters in the No-Go Zone around Panguna highlighted one of the areas in which the Bougainville peace process was not yet complete, even though UNOMB had come to an end.

Mr. VASSILAKIS (Greece), Council President, then expressed the Council’s thanks and appreciation to Assistant Secretary-General Türk for his cooperation and wished him the best in his future endeavours.

* *** *

For information media. Not an official record.

UN assists the Bougainville Government to identify recommendations for future elections

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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Papua New Guinea is assisting and facilitating a comprehensive lessons-learnt exercise on the 2015 Bougainville General Elections in conjunction with the Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner (OBEC).

The lessons learnt exercise which started on 9th June aims to understand the main lessons that can be used to assist OBEC, the Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission, the Autonomous Bougainville Government, the Papua New Guinea national government, development partners, and other stakeholders to plan, assist and implement future electoral events in the country.

UPDATE :  An unsuccessful candidate for president in Bougainville says he is taking legal action over the election result, alleging ballot boxes were stuffed with fake votes. FULL REPORT HERE or see BELOW

The lessons-learnt work will consist of seven workshops with key stakeholders that will be held at preliminary, regional and general levels. The preliminary events, attended by OBEC Returning Officers and national/international Observers, will focus on identifying general strengths, areas for improvement and local innovations during this election. The regional and general events will bring together a wider cross-section of stakeholders and will focus on sharing experiences on topics covering the entire electoral process. The outcome from these workshops will be summarized in a report that will be shared with the Government of PNG and the ABG.

UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Roy Trivedy emphasised that: “These types of lesson learning events are important because they can help all of us to continuously improve.”

“The UN is well placed to facilitate this analysis that will further strengthen democratic practice and governance of Bougainville. The success of this exercise relies on the strong collaboration and engagement of all national stakeholders and international partners.” added Mr. Trivedy.

OBEC Acting Commissioner George Manu said: “We welcome UNDP ́s support to this exercise. The feedback of all election stakeholders will strengthen our ability to improve coming electoral processes.”

The third set of general elections in Bougainville since the signing of the 2001 Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA) were concluded on 8 June with the return of the writs.

In collaboration with OBEC and other partners, UNDP provided targeted support to the Bougainville elections, following a request of the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Bougainville Government. UNDP’s assistance focused on training for female candidates, journalists, and scrutineers; accreditation and briefing for international observers; helping establish processes for resolution of electoral complaints; and conducting a lessons-learnt exercise.

UNDP’s assistance has been instrumental in improving professional electoral management, ensuring more inclusive electoral processes and ensuring well conducted electoral processes in more than 58 countries around the world.

RADIO NZ Transcript

An unsuccessful candidate for president in Bougainville says he is taking legal action over the election result, alleging ballot boxes were stuffed with fake votes.

At the weekend John Momis was declared the winner of the presidential race in the autonomous Papua New Guinea region, easily defeating the eight men running against him.

With preferences he got over 51,000 votes with second place Ishmael Toroama on a little over 18,000.

But Sam Kauona, a former leader of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, says he and four other candidates, his BRA colleague Mr Toroama, Reuben Siara, Nick Peniai and Simon Dumarinu, are taking the action.

SAM KAUONA: We are taking this letter to court because the results are just unbelievable. A person cannot score like that when he is not favoured. For [President] Momis to score that number it is refutable. This is the new generation, it is not the old generation that used to favour Momis way back before the crisis. It is a new generation and the favouritism of the leaders in Bougainville has shifted. And that is why today a lot of people that have cast their votes, particularly in Buka, the northern part of Bougainville – they are saying, where are our votes? There is a strong public pressure stating where their  votes are. It looks like it has not been counted, it looks like their votes has been thrown out and what is it fake votes have been inserted. The true ones have been extracted out and insertion of fake votes into ballot paper. And all funny things happened during the counting.

DON WISEMAN: There have been a lot of people watching this election process. You and your colleagues in the presidential race you had scrutineers every where, if there were strange things going on why weren’t they raised then?

SK: They raised it, they raised it, but the system protected the system itself. They were not able to become effective in scrutinising the process. To start off with, the distance from the counting and recording was out of sight, you cannot actually, as a scrutineer you cannot actually see what the name was. Only after some of us complained and they adjusted the tables, even then they could hardly see how the papers, whose name was it in the paper that they were sorting it out. To start off with there was a problem in the distance of scrutinising seeing it. And when they want to raise the point the police who were in charge discouraged them from voicing out. This is very clear because I pulled out the returning officer two times, not one time, to complain that the figures were not reconciling. The figures in the actual tally box for constituency compared to presidential counts, they were not reconciling, because those two areas constituency and presidential has to reconcile. And to make it worse they did not allow for our scrutineers to bring in the initial tally which was collected in the local areas. They were not allowed to bring that out or match it or reconcile with the process numbers. So it is strongly believed that the process has been tampered with.

DW: These are extremely strong allegations you are making. The other side can come back to you and say well this is just sour-grapes from people who competed and didn’t compete well enough.

SK: Well it has to be proven in court, there is a system you know. If you do not probe it out then the security situation in Bougainville is at risk. That is the important point, we have to take it to court, we have a situation here and if we do not address it in Bougainville the security situation is in danger.

DW: You are taking court action. What have you initiated so far?

SK: Well actually you are making a call right in the middle of a meeting with our lawyers. There are about nine of us complainants, contestants. Not just for the presidential seat but other areas like constituencies throughout Bougainville. We are here with a lawyer now. This is to stop people taking the law into their own hands. We have to do the right thing.

 

Bougainville Election 2015 News : Momis re-elected ABG president of Bougainville

 

photoJM

Mr Momis also acknowledged those that have given him the mandate to lead the people of Bougainville in the next Bougainville House of Representatives.

He said despite the little hiccups encountered during the election period, people still stood firm with their decisions in ensuring that this election was conducted peacefully, before adding that this shows the people’s commitments towards democratic principles, values and the long term vision for the people of Bougainville.

DR Chief John Momis has been re-elected president of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

He was declared the president-elect by the Regional Returning Officer John Itanu this morning, defeating eight other candidates also vying for the presidential seat.

Photo above Dr Momis being congratulated by the commissioner

Mr Momis has been leading the race since the start of counting last Saturday, and has been maintaining that lead till the fourth exclusive process conducted early this morning to be declared winner.

He won with a whopping 51, 382 votes while runner-up Mr Toroama received 18, 466 votes.

Sam Kauona and Sam Akoitai settled for third and fourth placings with 14, 965 and 11, 523 votes respectively after the completion of the fourth and final exclusive process.

During the completion of the primary counts saw Mr Momis receiving 48, 826 votes while runner-up Ismael Toroama collected 16, 077 votes.
Trailing third was Sam Kauona with 12, 383 votes while Sam Akoitai collected 9443 votes to maintain his fourth placing.

The absolute majority after the completion of the primary counts stood at 51, 302 votes, with Mr Momis needing to only collect 2476 votes in the exclusive process to claim the presidency seat.

Mr Momis continued receiving more votes during the exclusive process, thus surpassing the 51, 100 absolute majority mark in the fourth exclusive process resulting in his declaration.

The president-elect was escorted by some recently-declared members from Buka to the North Region counting centre at Hutjena secondary school at around half past ten today to sign the writ.

While delivering his speech after signing the writ, Mr Momis commended the Acting Bougainville Electoral Commissioner, Mr George Manu, his officers, external advisors and supporters involved in the successful staging of this election, which for the first time is being conducted by ABG’s own electoral commission.

Mr Momis also acknowledged those that have given him the mandate to lead the people of Bougainville in the next Bougainville House of Representatives.

He said despite the little hiccups encountered during the election period, people still stood firm with their decisions in ensuring that this election was conducted peacefully, before adding that this shows the people’s commitments towards democratic principles, values and the long term vision for the people of Bougainville.

The Third Bougainville House of Representative will be sworn into office on June 15 this month.

Bougainville 2015 Elections News : Counting coming to close as Momis accelerating to Presidency

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COUNTING COMING TO A CLOSE
By Aloysius Laukai

With many seats already declared counting for the ABG 2015 General election is coming to an end.

ABG sitting President, DR.CHIEF JOHN MOMIS has started accelerating again after getting some or no vote in parts of Central Bougainville.

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As of 7am this morning and at count 85 he scored 1,385 votes to get the Progressive score of 32,042 votes. Presidential count remaining after Central will be from the South Bougainville votes. So far a total of 73,145 votes have been counted.
See more details below.

Ballot No Candidate Prev Tot Votes New Total
16 John Lawrence Momis 30657 1385 32042
12 Sam Kauona 10771 187 10958
17 Ismael Toroama 8552 130 8682
14 Sam Akoitai 7633 60 7693
10 Nick F. Peniai 3643 33 3676
15 Simon Dumarinu 3477 12 34893477 12 3489
18 Reuben Siara 2620 31 26512620 31 2651
11 Justin Pokata Kira 1929 27 1956
13 Peter Nerau 647 9 656

 

In North Bougainville seats remaining to be counted are SUIR, SELAU and ATOLLS whilst the Regional seats for former Combatants and Women will continue and including the seat for the President which they will have to count all the votes from the three regions.

In CENTRAL they are still counting the South Nasioi seat currently held by the Minister for DPI, NICHOLAS DARKU.

Electorate Leading Last Update Status
President
John Lawrence Momis 3 Jun 7:19 am FPC85
North Bougainville Woman
Hellen Siumana 3 Jun 12:17 am FPC15
North Bougainville Former Combatant
Marcelline Getsi Laris 3 Jun 12:04 am FPC2
Atolls

Hagogohe
Robert Hamal Sawa 3 Jun4:15 am DECL
Haku
Robert Chika Tulsa 1 Jun10:00 am DECL
Halia
Patrick Nisira 2 Jun5:00 am DECL
Mahari
John Tabinaman 3 Jun7:05 am DECL
Nissan
Charry Napto Kiso 2 Jun9:50 pm DECL
Peit
Josephine Getsi 2 Jun7:15 pm DECL
Selau

Suir

Taonita Teop
Raopos Apou Tepaia 1 Jun9:10 pm DECL
Taonita Tinputz
David Braun Vatavi 30 May5:00 am DECL
Teua
Charles Kakapetai 2 Jun1:22 am DECL
Tonsu

Tsitalato
Fidelis Semoso 30 May2:00 am DECL
Central Bougainville Woman
Marcelline Kokiai 3 Jun 8:20 am FPC58
Central Bougainville Former Combatant
Noah Doko 3 Jun 7:26 am FPC57
Eivo/Torau
Clarence Dency 1 Jun10:05 am DECL
Ioro
Michael Lapolela 3 Jun 4:09 am CEC4
Kokoda
Rodney Osioco 30 May1:12 am DECL
Kongara
Dominic Itta 30 May10:24 am DECL
North Nasioi
Nicholas Darku 3 Jun 7:17 am FPC7
Rau
Thomas Keriri 2 Jun5:43 am DECL
South Nasioi
Simon Oriai Dasiona 31 May5:40 am DECL
Terra
Robin Wilson 1 Jun11:05 am DECL
South Bougainville Woman
Isabel Peta 2 Jun 11:18 pm FPC81
South Bougainville Former Combatant
Thomas Tarii 2 Jun 11:06 pm FPC81
Baubake
Jacob Tooke 2 Jun1:10 pm DECL
Bolave
Dennis Alexman Lokonai 31 May6:30 am DECL
Konnou
Willie Louis Mariki Masiu 3 Jun 4:03 am CEC6
Kopii
Philip Kuhena 2 Jun1:10 pm DECL
Lato
Christopher Kena 1 Jun9:15 am DECL
Lule
Joseph Kangki Nabuai 2 Jun6:20 pm DECL
Makis
John Vianney Kepas 2 Jun1:10 pm DECL
Motuna/Huyono/Tokunutui
Albert Punghau 1 Jun9:25 am DECL
Ramu
Thomas M Pataaku 2 Jun1:10 pm DECL
Torokina
Steven Suako 30 May1:45 am DECL
Baba
William Silamai 1 Jun9:20 am DECL

Bougainville 2015 Elections Update: Polling in Bougainville completed now the count

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‘The counting will reflect what voters want in the third house of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG). We are making good progress with our preparations for the Scrutiny, which begins tomorrow, Tuesday 26 May 1pm,

Mr. Manu also introduced a new website for the ABG Results 2015 that will be used as well purposely to update results of the counting

http://obec.gov.pg/index.php/about-the-obec/

The public is advised to see the results provided from the website as progressive preliminary, unofficial results only to be accepted as the official or final results during the issue of writs on Monday 8 June. The counting will end on June 7

Mr George Manu -Acting Electoral Commissioner to Bougainville

Story By Tanya Lahies Photos by NEW DAWN

Polling in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARoB) has completed in all 33 constituencies and counting to start on Wednesday 27 May

According to the Acting Electoral Commissioner to Bougainville, this year’s election in Bougainville is the first to be conducted by Bougainvilleans alone without supervision from the electoral office in Port Moresby.

Polling in general which started quietly had steadily picked up momentum with the message of polling reaching far and wide in the region and to other voting areas outside in Port Moresby, Madang, Lae, Goroka and Rabaul.

Otherwise, there were some obstacles encountered. An issue highlighted was the missing of names of certain voters who complained when trying to vote. But the commissioner provided options to solve the reoccurring problem. Voters who did not find their names while polling in their constituencies where advised to check special polling sites for Bougainvilleans in Bougainville (BiB) in Buka, Arawa and Buin.

In general, Mr George Manu continued to affirm the people of Bougainville on a daily basis that the ABG general election was quiet and peaceful.

This year, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) strongly supported the Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner (OBEC) with providing trainings of the scrutineers including the media about the elections, processes and legal aspect.

Governance and Implementation Fund (GIF) also made funding available to transport the ballot boxes from Australia to Buka. The media, private and mainstream from bougainvillenews.com ,Post Courier, New Dawn Fm, NBC Bougainville and online particularly FB pages have also played an important role in disseminating information to the vast majority of the population. The Police sector also contributed to the elections awareness, which teamed up with local band Anslom Nakikus and his group during the earlier peak of the elections.

Tomorrow now sees the counting that will reflect what voters want in the third house of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG). “We are making good progress with our preparations for the Scrutiny, which begins tomorrow, Tuesday 26 May 1pm,” Mr Manu declared at the media conference today.

Mr Manu also introduced a new website for the ABG Results 2015 that will be used as well purposely to update results of the counting.

http://obec.gov.pg/index.php/about-the-obec/

The public is advised to see the results provided from the website as progressive preliminary, unofficial results only to be accepted as the official or final results during the issue of writs on Monday 8 June. The counting will end on June 7, Mr Manu said.

Counting the Votes

For the 2015 ABG General Election, counting of the ballot papers will be held at three regional count centres:

  • Hutjena High School, Hutjena – counting for the Presidential seat and the North regional and constituency seats
  • Sharp Memorial Centre, Arawa – counting for the Central regional and constituency seats
  • United Church, Buin – counting for the South regional and constituency seats
  •  On the first day, Tuesday 26 May 2015, the counting officials will open the ballot boxes in order to sort the ballot papers by type. This is so that when the counting of the ballots occurs, they are already grouped together.
  •  The counting officials will then go through the ‘reconciliation’ process, which checks that the ballot boxes contain the correct number of ballot papers.
  • Following this, the scrutiny of the preferences will begin. The first sort involves the ballot papers being sorted into piles based on their first preference. The pile of votes is then counted to determine the number of first preference votes each candidate received.
  • The candidate who received the least amount of first preference votes is then ‘excluded’ from the count, meaning they are no longer in the running to win the seat. The ballot papers for the excluded candidate are then sorted based on their second preferences. So these additional ballot papers add to the number of votes the other candidates have won.
  • At the counting centre
  • The process of counting is complex and takes time. It is important that each step is followed correctly to ensure that the candidate who wins is the candidate that was voted for. This means the process takes time.
  • The counting will take place around the clock with multiple shifts of counting officials each day. There are a number of groups inside the counting centre:
  • Note: The exclusion of candidates continues until one candidate either receives the Absolute Majority, or only two candidates remain in the count. Following either of these, the count will be completed and await formal declaration by the Returning Officer. The Activity: Understanding LPV provides guidance on how the exclusion process works.
  • Note: At this point, if a candidate receives the Absolute Majority, the count will be completed and await formal declaration by the Returning Officer. If not, the exclusion process commences.
  • Presidential ballot papers will be packaged up and transferred to the Presidential counting centre.
  • The Special Votes (the votes in the envelopes) will then be examined to identify whether the ballots are eligible to be included in the count.
  • How counting takes place
  • The below process is followed for each constituency, regional women’s, regional former combatant and the presidential elections.
  • Counting officials- with the responsibility of sorting and counting
  • Returning Officers- managing the counting officials, with overall responsibility for their area
  • OBEC advisors- a group of Australian and New Zealand advisors will be there to provide support and guidance following a request for support from the Acting Electoral Commissioner
  • Scrutineers- one scrutineer per candidate can be at the counting centre to watch the process and provide quality assurance by alerting the Returning Officer if they see anything of concern
  • Observers- international and domestic observers who are there following an invitation by the Acting Electoral Commissioner to observe the process as part of a commitment to transparency

 

  • Meanwhile, in support of the counting publicity and dissemination of information, the media in Bougainville is well prepared for the two weeks. While NBC Bougainville, New Dawn fm and the ABG mobile Radio Ples Lain will report from Buin, Arawa and Buka, other media personals from Post Courier will also ensure that information reach the majority of the eligible voters and spectators. Other media personals outside of Bougainville and from abroad will also participate in covering this significant period.

 

  • “I encourage all Bougainvilleans to continue working cooperatively with OBEC officials and the Bougainville Police Service to make this election, free, safe and fair,” Mr Manu urged.
  • This year’s election will also introduce a formal Electoral Dispute Resolution Process with the support from UNDP. The process will give any enrolled candidate, voter or scrutineer the opportunity to complete a form regarding any complain they may have if they believe that a violation of the electoral law or other laws has occurred, Mr Manu added.

Bougainville 2015 Election update: Voting near completion as counting gets underway

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Acting Electoral Commissioner to Bougainville Mr George Manu speaks at the media conference held today Wednesday May 20, 2015.

(This is the Press statement from the commissioner).

Welcome and thank you for attending today’s media conference for the 2015 ABG General Election.

Today, I am pleased to report that polling has been completed in 31 of our 33 constituencies.

Polling is yet to be completed in just two of the more than 730 polling places that operated during this election.

  •  There is one polling place in Tasman, in the Atolls, that is yet to poll. Polling has been delayed in that location due to weather and logistical challenges; however, I am advised that it is anticipated that polling will be held there in the next couple of days.
  •   Polling is also underway today at one polling place in Kabaku in North Nasioi and is expected to finish there today.

Throughout this election we have had 218 polling teams operating across all of Bougainville and 5 provinces on mainland PNG.

I would like to thank the dedication and professionalism of all polling teams and the 19 Returning Officers.

They have overcome the many logistical challenges that we face when providing access to voting for the more than 172,000 enrolled Bougainvilleans.

Throughout this election we have achieved a number of things for the first time.

  • This election is the first election in Bougainville led by Bougainvilleans for Bougainvilleans. I cannot over emphasise the significance of this.
  • This election is also the first in Bougainville where we have established regional electoral offices in Arawa and Buin, bringing the administration of the election closer to the people.
  • Another first is that my office implemented out of constituency voting for Bougainvilleans Inside Bougainville. Polling places were established at central locations in Buka, Arawa and Buin to facilitate this. These Special Polling Places, established under our Elections Act, increased the opportunity for voters to exercise their democratic right to vote.
  • In this election we also increased the opportunity for Bougainvilleans Outside Bougainville on mainland PNG to participate in the election by providing voting service in Port Moresby, Lae, Goroka, Madang and Rabaul.
  • And finally, there was the enhanced security features of the ballot papers. This is the first time for PNG, and quite possibly the Pacific, that ballot papers with such advanced security features have been used.

What we have achieved is a great stepping stone towards better, stronger elections in the future. Of course every election is not without its challenges.

My office will continue to investigate all reports and complaints relating to this election as they come to light. This includes reports of people’s names not being found on the Final Electoral Roll and cases of voter or candidate misbehaviour.

As I announced yesterday, in light of credible reports received that some people were seeking to abuse the Special Voting Service for Bougainvilleans Inside Bougainville by attempting to vote more than once and by attempting to remove the indelible ink, polling at the Special Polling Places has been brought to a close ahead of schedule.

I took this step to safeguard the integrity of the election.

My office will be following up on the reports of multiple voting and I will be requesting assistance from the Bougainville Police Service.

I wish to thank the vast majority of Bougainvilleans who worked cooperatively with polling officials and the Bougainville Police Service to make this election, free, safe and fair.

In terms of next steps, OBEC will conduct a Training-of-Trainers for Returning Officers on counting procedures. This training will be held in Buka on Friday 22 May. All Returning Officers will travel in from their regions to attend and they will then return to their regions to train their count centre staff.

Then on Saturday 23 May OBEC will sort the envelopes from the Special Voting Services. Envelopes containing ballot papers cast through Special Voting Services, both for Bougainvilleans Inside Bougainville and Bougainvilleans Outside Bougainville, will be sorted according to their constituency.

The sorting of envelopes will be conducted in the full view of scrutineers and electoral observers. Envelopes will be sorted by region and constituency – there will be no opening of envelopes.

Sorting of envelopes for Bougainvilleans Outside Bougainville will take place in Buka, while sorting of envelopes for Bougainvilleans Inside Bougainville will take place in the three regional count centres at Buka, Arawa and Buin.

OBEC is committed to full transparency and I invite scrutineers and electoral observers to witness the process from beginning to end.

At the end of the SVS sorting, envelopes will be placed in ballot boxes, resealed, and transported with police escort to their respective regional count centres.

In addition to the three regional count centres in Buka, Arawa and Buin, there will be a Presidential count centre in Buka. That is where the counting for the Presidential seat will take place. To allow for a faster presidential count, the first step of the Scrutiny at each of the three regional count centres on Tuesday 26 May will be to identify misplaced ballots that may have been deposited in the wrong ballot box.

I will provide more detailed information on all of this over the coming days.

Thank you again for attending today’s briefing. I will hold my next media briefing at 2pm Bougainville time on Monday 25 May here in the OBEC Media Briefing Room.