Bougainville News : Historic referendum decisions reports Momis after JSB

JmoThe outcomes of great significance involved preparations for the Bougainville Referendum. It must be conducted before mid-2020.

“In a series of meetings over recent months, a joint team of officials developed proposals for: establishing an independent agency to conduct the referendum; a target date of June 15th 2019 as the date for holding the referendum; a detailed work program of activities and associated funding needed to prepare for the holding of the referendum; a set of basic messages to be covered in an initial joint awareness program about the referendum. The JSB endorsed these proposals.

Chief John L. Momis President Press Release

“I’m very pleased with these decisions. Although the date for the referendum cannot yet be finally set (because of various legal steps required to be taken first), it would be impossible to plan the referendum without a target date. With that date now agreed, we can plan the steps required to hold the referendum, and the time and the funding and personnel needed to carry out each step.

“Equally pleasing is the National Government commitment to provide the funding needed to carry out the referendum preparations, beginning with the 2017 National Budget.

“The steps necessary to establish the independent agency that will conduct the referendum have been agreed. The two Governments are committed to it being established before the end of 2016. The PNG Electoral Commission and the Bougainville Electoral Commission are already cooperating closely in developing the agreement, administrative arrangements and the charter required by the Peace Agreement and the Organic Law on Peace-building in Bougainville for establishing the Independent Agency.

“The joint agreement on these and related issues is a huge step forward. It demonstrates once and for all the total commitment of the Papua New Guinea Government to full implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement and the associated Constitutional provisions.

“As a result, there should no longer be any doubt amongst Bougainvilleans about whether or not the referendum will be held. I know some factions and individuals have retained weapons because of suspicions that the National Government would refuse to hold the referendum. But with the historic JSB decisions on 20th May, those suspicions must end. As a result, all Bougainvillean groups must now work towards achieving complete weapons disposal.

“I now call for full disposal of weapons by the Me’ekamui Defence Force elements, the armed groups associated with Noah Musingku at Tonu, and various former BRA and BRF members and groups that have retained weapons.

“Only with full weapons disposal will Bougainville be able to be referendum-ready. The Bougainville Peace Agreement requires that the Referendum be free and fair. Without weapons disposal, there will inevitably be doubts about the referendum being free and fair. There are already Bougainvilleans saying that they will not vote if weapons remain. The legitimacy of the result will always be in doubt if weapons remain.

The President said that he was impressed by the clear commitment of the Prime Minister and other ministers to implementing the Bougainville Peace Agreement. He said: “Once again, Papua New Guinea is providing a lead to other countries that have experienced violent conflict. It shows that the commitment to achieving peace by peaceful means, evident ever since the Bougainville peace process began in 1997, continues to flourish in Papua New Guinea.” He said: “I salute the Prime Minister for his very positive contribution to this historic outcome.”

 

Bougainville News : President Momis Opening JSB -Statement from JOINT SUPERVISORY BODY PORT MORESBY May 2016

m and o

“But Bougainville is not being treated as a government with constitutionally guaranteed autonomy. Too often we are regarded as just another provincial government, or a department. When it comes to calculation of grants, National agencies believed they can make arbitrary decisions about the ABG. They ignore what the Constitution requires.

This must change. If it does not, then the ABG will begin challenging breach of the Constitution in the courts.

Understanding of the Peace Agreement and the National Constitutional laws that give effect to the Agreement is absent. The high turnover of both politicians and senior officials since the Peace Agreement is an issue here .Almost no one in the National Government structures was involved in negotiating the Agreement. So perhaps it’s not such a surprise that many do not understand the big difference between autonomy and a provincial government.

I fear sometimes that this failure to understand the ABG as a truly autonomous  government is part of the reason why even the JSB is not working well.

The ABG operating account contains less than K3 million. We will soon have to begin shutting down operations.

In the 2014 JSB , the National Government stated that on its calculations, it owed K96 million in arrears of RDG. On those figures, annual RDG payments should have been at least K29.5 million per year. We did not accept the National Government calculations. Our calculation showed arrears of over K400 million, and annual payments of well over K100 million.”

OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT 

JOINT SUPERVISORY BODY PORT MORESBY, 20 MAY 2016

OPENING STATEMENT BY

HON. JOHN L. MOMIS, PRESIDENT AUTONOMOUS REGION OF BOUGAINVILLE

On behalf of the Autonomous Bougainville Government, I welcome all members of the two, delegations – the National Government and the ABG – as well as all observers or guests.

In particular, I acknowledge, and welcome the presence of the Honourable Peter O’Neill,  Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, and other Ministers in attendance, and of course, Hon. Joe Lera, Minister for Bougainville Affairs, to whom I offer a special welcome to this his first JSB meeting as Minister.

Colleagues, I must begin by reminding all of us that the reason that we are here is that we are implementing a peace agreement – an agreement negotiated with difficulty to end a violent, bloody and destructive conflict in which thousands of people died – people from not only Bougainville, but also from elsewhere in PNG.

In that context I must make brief comments on the importance of the roles of the JSB.

Download or Read ABG LEADERS’ JSB PREPARATION BRIEFING

Bougainville News JSB papers – May 2016

In both the Bougainville Peace Agreement and the National Constitution, the JSB is dealt with under the heading ‘intergovernmental relations’. That means relations between two separate governments.

The JSB is by far the most important institution for handling relations between the National Government and the ABG. The JSB has three main functions:

  1. To enable the two governments to jointly oversee implementation of the Peace Agreement, including both the autonomy and referendum arrangements; and
  2. To provide a forum for consultation between the two governments; and
  3. To help resolve disputes between the two governments that cannot be resolved by consultation between the relevant agencies of government. If the JSB cannot resolve a dispute, it can be referred for mediation or arbitration, and ultimately to the courts.

These are all important functions, including the one so far not used – that of dispute resolution. I hope very much that what we agree today means that there continues to be no need to use the dispute settlement arrangements.

The constitutional provisions on the JSB underline the fact that the ABG is a constitutionally established and highly autonomous government. It is very different to the provincial governments elsewhere in PNG. It is different in terms of powers, funding arrangements, and intergovernmental relations.

See Above Quote

For example, the procedures for the JSB agreed by us under Constitution say the JSB must meet at least twice a year. But in the last five or six years, it has not met even once a year on average. When it does meet, the officials try to deal with everything in advance, and treat the JSB as a rubber stamp.

I am sure, that, as usual, a group of National Government officials has produced the draft resolutions that they expect us to sign. That is not acceptable. The JSB is the forum for leaders from both sides to engage directly, and deal with issues. We are not a rubber stamp for what the officials think should happen.

The JSB must return to being the critically important forum for exchanges between governments. I will return to that issue before I finish these remarks.

The Constitutional roles of the JSB underline the importance of the two governments working together to implement the Peace Agreement in full.

Such cooperation is essential if the Peace Agreement is to work as was intended when it was negotiated. It is sometimes forgotten that the Peace Agreement was negotiated to end the worst conflict ever to have occurred amongst Pacific Island people.

We must remember that purpose of the Agreement, or otherwise there will always be a grave risk that violent conflict will begin again. A renewed war would have terrible impacts, for not only Bougainville, but also the rest of PNG.

It is vital that the two governments to work together. After all, as we used to say often, when the Agreement had just been negotiated, it is a joint creation. It involves both the PNG Government and the leaders of Bougainville. Both should have a deep interest in all issues about the Agreement, and in its full implementation.

You will all be relieved that I’m now turning my attention to the issues on the agenda for this meeting. My comments will be brief.

The first issue I want to mention is the calculation of the Restoration and Development Grant. The issues here are of the greatest importance to the ABG.

The ABG has two main immediate concerns here. First, we are almost completely broke. It’s now almost five months into 2016. But so far we have received no funding at all under the 2016 Budget. The ABG operating account contains less than K3 million. We will soon have to begin shutting down operations.

In the 2014 JSB , the National Government stated that on its calculations, it owed K96 million in arrears of RDG. On those figures, annual RDG payments should have been at least K29.5 million per year. We did not accept the National Government calculations. Our calculation showed arrears of over K400 million, and annual payments of well over K100 million.

So we agreed to resolve the differences over calculation method by getting independent legal opinions. In the meantime, the National Government agreed to pay the arrears at K30 million per year over three years. Future annual RDG payments were supposed to be based on their calculations – an RDG of at least K29.5 million per year.

But what happened? A K30 million arrears payment in the 2015 budget was never paid. The annual RDG for 2015 was set at only K15 million, but only K10 million was paid, and it was received in 2016. No provision for arrears was included in the 2016 budget. The annual RDG for 2016 in the budget is only K10 million.

So – the Constitutional Laws are being ignored. National Government promises of payment endorsed by the ABG have not been implemented.

This must change.

We need agreement here, today, that all arrears promised in 2014 are paid immediately, together with the additional arrears in underpayments in the 2015 and 2016 RDG amounts.

The second  RDG issue is that we must resolve, once and for all, the issue about calculation of the RDG. I want agreement here that we will jointly go to the Supreme Court to resolve our differences about that issue.

Our goal here is not to force the National Government to pay all the arrears that we think are due, or to force payment of impossibly high annual RDG figures. We understand the fiscal crisis that is facing the country. We will be reasonable. But we do need to agree what the Constitution requires. And we need a clear commitment that the Constitution will be followed.

The next agenda I want to mention is the Special Intervention Fund – the SIF. The SIF is important. It shows National Government commitment to restoring and developing Bougainville. But all sorts of problems are arising. Some National Government leaders are constantly claiming the SIF is being misused by the ABG – there are even claims of corruption. Just as the Prime Minister say he will not resign on the basis of allegations made without evidence, I ask for the evidence of our abuse of the SIF. There have been audit reports and other evaluations of the SIF. They do not support such allegations.

More important, there are now three new unfunded projects approved by the Central Supply and Tenders Board, without prior JSB approval. WE need to know, here, today, where the funding for those projects will come from.

Next, is fisheries. We hope to sign an MOU here on fisheries funds and powers. Under the Peace Agreement, the ABG is entitled to receive from NFA all fisheries revenues derived from EEZ, Continental and territorial waters associated with Bougainville, less costs of collection. All such revenues collected since 2005 are payable to the ABG. For many years, we have been asking NFA for the data on the revenue received. They have failed to provide that.

Now NFA offers an MOU, under negotiation for several years, with an annual ‘good-faith’ payment of K5 million. The MOU was originally to be signed in 2014. If it had been, we would have received K15 million by 2016. But here we are with an MOU to sign that just offers K 5 million for 2016.

I want clear agreement here, today, that the K15 million will be paid by NFA, by mid-June 2016. In addition, all the data on revenue and costs of collection must be provide by July.

There are other issues on the agenda. In addition, there are many key ABG agenda items about which we have prepared papers, but most of which have not been included in the agenda produced by NCOBA from the JTT meeting.

They include:

  1. Second Autonomy Review (PNG and ABG Chief Secretaries)
  2. Implementing PNG Constitutional Laws Implementing the      Bougainville Peace Agreement (ABG)]
  3. Fisheries issues:
  4. Merging Bougainville Treasury function into ABG Finance Dept.
  5. DSIP and PSIP, and ABG laws implementing autonomy.
  6. Implementing ABG “Foreign Relations” Functions
  7. National Government Representation on Bougainville Senior Appointments Committee
  8. Reviving JSB Role as Key Autonomy Oversight Body
  9. Strengthening Bougainville Police Service 

The ABG asks for those matters to be added to this agenda.

With those comments, I will bring my opening remarks to an end. I wish us all a productive and cordial engagements in this JSB meeting.

Thank you one and all.

See for details Bougainville News JSB papers – May 2016

Content Page

 

ABG’S PROPOSED AGENDA ITEMS. 4

  1. A) ISSUES FOR JSB DETERMINATION AND ENDORSEMENT.. 6

AGENDA 1. A: KEY ELEMENTS OF REFEENDUM PREPARATION.. 7

AGENDA 2 – SUBJECT: ABG REVENUE GENERATION.. 9

AGENDA 2.A. – SUPPORT FOR ABG SPONSORED ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS. 9

AGENDA 2.B:DEVELOPMENT OF KANGU GROWTH CENTRE. 11

AGENDA 2.C : ABG DRAWDOWN OF POWERS TO COLLECT ALL PNG TAXES IN BOUGAINVILLE. 12

  1. ISSUES FOR JSB DELIBERATIONS. 14

AGENDA 3 SUBJECT: SECOND AUTONOMY REVIEW… 15

AGENDA 4 – SUBECT: 19

AGENDA 5: ISSUE/DISPUTES ON FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR AUTONOMY. 22

AGENDA 5.A : RECURRENT UNCONDITIONAL GRANT: ARREARS AND FUTURE PAYMENTS. 22

AGENDA 5.B : RDG CALCULATION – ARREARS, AND FUTURE PAYMENTS. 23

AGENDA 5.C. – CONTINUITY AND SHORTFALLS IN SIF FUNDING.. 32

AGENDA 6 – SUBJECT: FISHERIES ISSUES. 36

  1. ISSUES FOR JOINT TECHNICAL TEAM MEETING DISCUSSIONS. 38

AGENDA 7 – SUBJECT: ABG FINANCE & TREASURY ISSUES: 39

AGENDA 7.A: CALCULATION OF IRC REMITTANCE TO ABG OF TAXES COLLECTED IN BOUGAINVILLE 2005-2016. 39

AGENDA 7. B: MERGING OF BOUGAINVILLE TREASURY FUNCTION INTO ABG FINANCE DEPT. 40

AGENDA 7.C: SERVICE DELIVERY MECHANISM AND LLGSIP. 41

AGENDA 7.D: DSIP AND PSIP AND ABG LAWS IMPLEMENTING THE AUTONOMY ARRANGEMENTS. 42

AGENDA 8 – SUBJECT: DRAWDOWN OF POWERS AND FUNCTIONS. 43

AGENDA 8.A: OVERARCHING MOU – FACILITATING DRAWDOWN OF POWERS AND FUNCTIONS. 43

AGENDA 8.B: IMPLEMENTING ABG “FOREIGN RELATIONS” FUNCTIONS UNDER THE BPA. 45

AGENDA 8.C: SUBSIDIARY LANDS MOU.. 47

AGENDA 8.D: ENVIRONMENT MOU.. 47

AGENDA 9 – SUBJECT:   NATIONAL GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATION ON BOUGAINVILLE SENIOR APPOINTMENTS COMMITTEE. 48

AGENDA 10 – SUBJECT: REVIVING THE JSB’S ROLE AS THE KEY AUTONOMY OVERSIGHT BODY. 50

AGENDA 11: SUBJECT: NURTURING LAW ABIDING, STABLE AND PEACEFUL SOCIETY BY STRENGTHENING BOUGAINVILLE POLICE SERVICE AND NGO’S (CSOs & FBOs) HUMANITARIAN REHABILITATION PROGRAMS. 53

ATTACHMENTS. 55

ATTACHMENT I:  JOINT REFERENDUM TECHNICAL GROUP RESOLUTION.. 56

ATTACHMENT II: REFERENDUM WORK PLAN.. 58

ATTACHMENT III: DRAFT PNGEC-OBEC AGREEMENT.. 66

ATTACHMENT IV. 69

 

 

 

Bougainville /PNG Government News: Benefits to reap in mutual relationships and working together

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 “What an opportunity it is that Bougainville has two Ministers in Government. What an opportunity missed it will be if the Ministers do not work in consultation and in tandem with ABG in the remaining months of to the next elections mid next year.

May be the newly appointed Minister for Bougainville Affairs will work around the clock to stitch up the loose ties and ends, mend the fractures and pick up the broken pieces to get a meaningful working relationship established with Bougainville Members of the House .

“Our four national MPs and 40 MHRs must come together and walk along the same path, in the same direction, with the same purpose, bearing the same cross on a journey towards a common Good, welfare and wellbeing of the People.

In a nutshell, have we a leader or a group of leaders that can deliver on the vision for everyone? “

A commentary by – Simon Pentanu

“It will also be something close to political deceit if together our combined political leadership does not deliver on the political promises and pledges that candidates swear to at elections that, if elected, they would do their utmost to rebuild and resurrect Bougainville.

This is the unequivocal challenge the Third House of Representatives faces head on through the referendum preparations and the myriad challenges from now to 2020.

Opportunities missed are opportunities lost and gone.”

Leadership Challenges of Autonomous Government   The Hon Patrick Nisira MP, Vice President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea see below Canberra Australia event 28 April

It has taken a very determined and audacious Prime Minister and his government to give real and long overdue facelift to Port Moresby, the nation’s capital. Mt Hagen has also benefited, so also will Lae city when the new wharf and Nadzab Terminal upgrades are completed.

This in stark reality has meant someone biting the political bullet and defraying all manners of politically loaded invectives and the courage of one’s convictions to do something that others have only played lip service to.

The PM and the Government’s decision has led to renovations and recovery of the decaying and decadent concrete monolith called the Pineapple Building and the adjacent time-ravaged Central Government Offices complex. The offices will save any Government in the future hugely exorbitant outlays in private rentals that real estate owners and operators have been thriving on handsomely for years.

Some of the Provinces and their provincial centres are also benefiting from this. Milne Bay is an example. Alotau, a peaceful town is welcoming an onset of national business travellers. The upgrade of Gurney airport for international flights will be good for the local economy with tourists and business travellers a good sales and marketing pitch for the province and the country. Similarly, if they walk the talk other provinces with business potential and cultural pull will reap benefits in a similar way.

The New Guinea Islands region has always attracted visitors. After the devastation of Rabaul by the volcanic eruption in September 1994, the growth of Kokopo has been an astonishing success in planning, funding, managing and implementing a resurgence through a combined effort of the ENB Provincial Government and the Gazelle Restoration Authority. I mention this because the PM and his Government’s support and delivery of any infrastructural development is being done on the back of what the province already has.

If Bougainville’s leaders also put their foot where their mouth is in demanding basic infrastructural development and upgrades by holding the PM to his repeated remarks that his main concern in rebuilding B’ville is through development. Time and again the PM has said openly that his main concern is to deliver development on Bougainville.

What an opportunity it is that Bougainville has two Ministers in Government. What an opportunity missed it will be if the Ministers do not work in consultation and in tandem with ABG in the remaining months of to the next elections mid next year.

May be the newly appointed Minister for Bougainville Affairs will work around the clock to stitch up the loose ties and ends, mend the fractures and pick up the broken pieces to get a meaningful working relationship established with Bougainville Members of the House .

Our four national MPs and 40 MHRs must come together and walk along the same path, in the same direction, with the same purpose, bearing the same cross on a journey towards a common Good, welfare and wellbeing of the People.

Bougainville has the natural resources and untapped wealth to do it. It has a relatively small population that can share the resources more than adequately and equally for everyone’s benefit .Have we got the collective minds, the sobriety and the goodwill to do it?

In a nutshell, have we a leader or a group of leaders that can deliver on the vision for everyone?

It will be a disappointment if elected leaders in the National Parliament and the Bougainville House of Representatives do not find the common chord and the core values that the people expect leaders to be bound by and if they do not rise above individual preoccupations toward a political precept that confers a duty of service to and care for all citizens.

Leadership Challenges of Autonomous Government

The Hon Patrick Nisira MP, Vice President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea Thursday 28 April 2016 11:00 – 12:00pm Acton Theatre, JG Crawford Building (132) Lennox Crossing, ANU

PN

Papua New Guinea’s Autonomous Region of Bougainville is at a critical juncture. Still dealing with the debilitating effects of an at times brutal civil conflict from 1988 to 1997, the Autonomous Bougainville Government is working to rebuild its economy and governance structures while navigating the final stages of a peace process, including a referendum on its political future due to take place by 2020. Vice President Patrick Nisira, a key member of the Autonomous Bougainville Government elected to lead Bougainville through to 2020, will offer some first-hand perspectives about the unique leadership challenges facing his government over the next few years.

About the speaker

The Hon Patrick Nisira MP is the Vice President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. Mr Nisira also holds the position of Minister for Peace, the Referendum and Veterans Affairs. Mr Nisira was first elected to Parliament in 2007 in the seat of Halia (Buka Island, North Bougainville) as an independent. He served as Minister for Works, Transport and Civil Aviation from 2007-2010 in the government led by Presidents James Tanis and Joseph Kabui. Re-elected in the 2010 general elections, Mr Nisira was appointed Vice President in the Autonomous Bougainville Government led by President John Momis. Nisira held his seat in the 2015 general elections and was reappointed Vice President in the second Momis government.

 

 

 

Bougainville Referendum News : Developing a ‘Whole-of-ABG’ Rolling Plan for Referendum Preparations”

Nisira

Bougainville Vice-President and Minister responsible for the Referendum Patrick Nisira,

In connection with Referendum preparations, there is to be a significant meeting held in Port Moresby on Tuesday 19 and Wednesday 20 April. Its a meeting of the Joint Bougainville Referendum Committee (joint between the National Government and the ABG) which will be discussing key issues about referendum preparations, including:

a. the process for establishing the agency for conducting the Referendum;

b. the process for determining the date for the referendum (and in particular, whether determinations on weapons disposal and good governance are just matters to be taken into account when the two governments consult on setting a date within the five year period between mid-2015 and mid-2020 within which the Referendum MUST be held, or, alternatively, whether they are conditions precedent that must be met, with failure to meet them permitting the National Government to refuse to the referendum being held;

c. Development of an overall plan for preparations for the referendum, inclusive of steps, timelines, budget, and funding.

The ABG is proposing that the meeting  be opened by statements given by the new Minister for Bougainville Affairs (Joe Lera) and Bougainville Vice-President and Minister responsible for the Referendum (Patrick Nisira), and that the outcomes of the subsequent discussions between the officials will be reported back to those two, as well as President Momis, at the end of the discussions.

 Background

A 2 day workshop that the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG)  held in early March for its ministers and senior officials around the theme of “Developing a ‘Whole-of-ABG’ Rolling Plan for Referendum Preparations”.

SEE PAPER HERE : Referendum Overview 2016 – 32 Pages

The National 14 April 2016_Page_2JM 78

Pictured above the Father of PNG  Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare GCL GCMG CH CF SSI KSG PC MP (born 9 April 1936), who celebrated his 80 th birthday last week with the Father of the Bougainville referendum James Tanis

THE BOUGAINVILLE REFERENDUM

AN OVERVIEW OF THE ARRANGEMENTS

Referendum Overview 2016 – 32 Pages

by Anthony Regan

3rd Draft – 21 March 2016

  1. INTRODUCTORY ISSUES

This paper provides an overview of origins, intentions, sources, and main features of the constitutional arrangements for the ‘Referendum on the future political status of Bougainville’ (the Bougainville Referendum). It must include a ‘choice of separate independence for Bougainville’, and must be held before mid-2020. The paper also outlines work done so far to prepare for the Referendum, and identifies and discusses major steps required to prepare, conduct, and deal with the outcomes of, the Referendum.

A referendum is a process for making decisions, mainly about issues of great importance. The categories of issues dealt with in referendums (or referenda) is extensive. They include: approving new constitutions (as in Kenya in 2010), or amendments to existing constitutions (as under Australia’s Constitution); proposing or even making new laws (as in Switzerland and with citizens initiative referenda in some states of the United States); or resolving major divisive issues (as in Britain’s planned June 2016 referendum on exiting the European Union).

Since 1990 over 50 referenda have been held on independence for a country or part of a country. Usually such referenda are conducted as part of efforts to resolve disputes, often (though not always) violent conflicts. Examples include referenda on: Eritrea’s independence from Ethiopia, 1993; Quebec’s independence from Canada in 1995; East Timor’s independence from Indonesia, 1999; Scotland’s Independence from the United Kingdom, in 2014. Of course, issues about sovereignty can be particularly sensitive and divisive, and are often difficult to prepare for and manage.

Very few countries have ever included in a national constitution provision for a deferred referendum on separation of part of the country, required to be held within a specified period. The only examples we know of are: France (in relation to New Caledonia, where a referendum must be held by 2018); and Sudan (in relation to South Sudan, where a referendum was held in 2011, about six years after the Sudan Constitution was amended to provide for it). So Bougainvilleans are a privileged people to have achieved the opportunity to make a decision about their future in this way. In all three cases such provision was included in the national constitution as part of a broader package intended to find ways of ending bitter and violent conflict. Autonomy was intended to operate in the period before the deferred referendum, in the hope (for some parties in both New Caledonia and Sudan) that it would help resolve divisions before the referendum was held, perhaps leading to a situation where the referendum might not be necessary, or might be deferred, or perhaps contributing to a referenda outcome in favour of continued unity.

Although referenda can help resolve difficult conflicts, they can also carry risks. They can be complex and expensive to run. They can be divisive, in preparation, in conduct, and in implementation of results. Problems often arise from misleading and divisive campaigns by political leaders on the question in the referendum. Leaders can be under great pressure to attempt to influence the result through manipulation of the process, and intimidation of voters.

Although usually intended to resolve conflict, holding a referendum can contribute to conflict, especially in a country where there are pre-existing ethnic, religious, or other kinds of divisions. One particular danger is that the outcome of a referendum on a divisive matter leaves a significant minority feeling strongly that the majority vote causes them serious disadvantage. Violent conflict has occurred in the process of implementation of outcomes of referenda in the past 25 years, including in relation to independence referenda – for example, in East Timor and in South Sudan.

A difficulty associated with an independence referendum is that it involves a major decision on long-term arrangements being made at a particular time, often without adequate information about future circumstances. For example, Scotland relies heavily on revenue from petroleum resources, which it would have needed to rely upon if its 2014 referendum had resulted in independence. But little more than a year after the referendum, oil prices were about 25 per cent of what they had been at the time of the vote. A vote in favour of independence where voters had assumed the prosperity of Scotland was assured could have been ill-founded.

So in preparing for the Bougainville referendum, it will be important to consider both the advantages and disadvantages that can flow from them, learn from experience of referenda held elsewhere, and do everything possible to minimise the chance of serious problems occurring.

A starting point is to develop a clear understanding of the Referendum arrangements, so that in planning for and managing it, everything possible is done to ensure arrangements work as intended, potential problems are anticipated and contingencies provided for. As yet, however, the Referendum arrangements are not widely known and understood. Important aspects are often the subject of confusion, uncertainty and misunderstanding.

For example, it has been widely believed in Bougainville that the BPA required the referendum be held in 2015, rather than in the five year window beginning in 2015 as is actually provided. Further, some Bougainvilleans have asked whether, in the absence of a decision by the PNG Parliament on the referendum outcome by 2020, the BPA and the PNG Constitutional Laws implementing it will cease to have effect, resulting in autonomy ceasing to operate, the immunity from prosecution for former combatants and other aspects of the BPA ceasing to have effect. In fact, there is no basis at all for such concern.

Perhaps the greatest confusion and uncertainty involves two sets of questions of great importance to continuing peace in Bougainville:

  1. whether PNG has the authority to defer the referendum beyond 2020 – in particular, should it be determined that requirements as to weapons disposal and good governance have not been met; and
  2. whether a vote in favour of independence requires PNG to implement the outcome, Bougainville then having an immediate right to independence.

Both sets of questions are discussed elsewhere in this paper.

Reasons for such confusion etc., include: most people involved having had no experience of referenda; the history of the arrangements for the Bougainville Referendum is complex; almost 15 years have elapsed since the BPA was signed, and few people other than some who were deeply involved in the negotiations have a clear memory and understanding of what was agreed; and the arrangement are set out in several documents, the details and relationships of which are little known.

This overview aims to provide information needed for improved understanding of the arrangements.[1] The history and intention of relevant parts of the BPA and the Constitutional Laws is a particular focus, for that is often little known, and when clarified often provides a good basis for improved understanding of the arrangements. Where relevant, the paper also examines the links between the referendum arrangements and other aspects of the BPA. It also:

  1. identifies some risks involved in the Referendum in respect of which avoidance or management action may be needed, and
  2. outlines issues to be taken into account when considering whether the Referendum outcome will be credible, an issue likely to be of importance when consulting with the National Government (and the international community) about the results of the Referendum.

[1] To assist readers to locate information, section numbers and pages of relevant laws and reports are included.

Download Full 32 pages here :

Bougainville News : President Momis statement ABG engagement with Rio Tinto about Rio’s plans for its shares in Bougainville Copper -BCL

panguna

” I want to brief you on recent developments concerning Rio’s review because it is obviously a matter of great importance to the future of Bougainville. So all of you, as the elected representatives of the people, have the right to be kept advised of developments on this subject.

Another important reason for me making this statement is that there are still many quite crazy – long long olgeta – stories being spread by a few Bougainvilleans, and by a few of our more crazy international critics, that the ABG is under the control of Rio Tinto and BCL, and is selling out the interests of Bougainvilleans to big mining interests. When such stories are still being spread, by either self-interested liars or deeply misguided people, it is important that accurate information is available that allows you, as the people’s representatives, to make your own judgments about what is happening.

We also emphasised again that the ABG and landowners remain willing to engage with BCL and Rio about jointly examining the possibilities of re-opening the Panguna mine.

However, I also said that if Rio does decide to end its investment, then the ABG remains completely opposed to any equity transfer to the National Government. Instead, there must be equity transfer to the ABG and landowners, without any payment.

I also stated firmly the ABG position that Rio must take full responsibility for an environmental clean-up, and for dealing with other major mine legacy issues.

If, as now seems highly likely, Rio decides to end its involvement in BCL, the equity must come to Bougainville, and Rio Tinto must accept its full historic responsibilities, and honour its obligations to Bougainvilleans

I ask this House, and the people of Bougainville, to support my Government in its ongoing, life and death struggle, to protect the interests of the landowners, and of the wider Bougainville community.”

EDITED STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT JOHN. L. MOMIS, TO THE BOUGAINVILLE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 5 APRIL 2016

Mr. Speaker:

I rise to share with all members of this House the most recent developments in the ABG’s efforts of recent years in examining the options for the future of large-scale mining in Bougainville.

In particular, I am talking today about what is still the very uncertain future of the Panguna mine. Since the Bougainville Mining (Transitional Arrangements) Act in July 2014, the most immediate factor causing uncertainty has been Rio Tinto’s reaction to that Act doing away with BCL’s major mining tenements, replacing them with just an exploration licence over the former Special Mining Lease – the SML.

Rio Tinto is the London based giant mining company that since the early 1990s has been the 53.6 per cent majority shareholder in BCL. Rio announced in August 2014 that it would conduct a review into its investment in BCL. That announcement opened the real possibility that Rio Tinto would withdraw from any involvement in BCL.

Withdrawal of Rio would raise major uncertainties about the future of BCL, and what the ABG and landowner organisations had been doing for several years – that is, we had been engaging with BCL about the possible re-opening of Panguna.

Of course, the engagement process was still in its very early stages. No decisions had been made on the major issues of substance. Further, the Mining Act gave landowners a clear veto over re-opening.

But with the announcement of Rio Tinto’s review of its investment in BCL, most aspects of our engagement with BCL were put on hold. That is still the position today.

I want to brief you on recent developments concerning Rio’s review because it is obviously a matter of great importance to the future of Bougainville. So all of you, as the elected representatives of the people, have the right to be kept advised of developments on this subject.

Another important reason for me making this statement is that there are still many quite crazy – long long olgeta – stories being spread by a few Bougainvilleans, and by a few of our more crazy international critics, that the ABG is under the control of Rio Tinto and BCL, and is selling out the interests of Bougainvilleans to big mining interests. When such stories are still being spread, by either self-interested liars or deeply misguided people, it is important that accurate information is available that allows you, as the people’s representatives, to make your own judgments about what is happening.

Honourable Members may recall my statement to the House about the future of Panguna, made on 22nd December 2012. I then advised of the latest in a series of attempts that the National Government has made since at least 2014 to purchase Rio Tinto’s 53.6 per cent equity in BCL. This latest attempt was made from late November.

The Member of the National Parliament for Central Bougainville, Hon. Jimmy Miringtoro met me to tell me that National Government Minister, Hon. Ben Micah, wanted to discuss with me and Panguna landowner representatives the urgent need for the National Government to purchase the Rio Tinto equity. I subsequently met Mr. Micah, and then Mr. Micah together with the Prime Minister, Hon. Peter O’Neill.

In brief, they said it was an urgent necessity for the National Government to purchase the equity as soon as possible. Initially we were told we had to give our agreement by 7 December. The reason given was that if PNG did not purchase the equity, there was a grave risk that Rio would sell the equity to an un-named third party. Mr. Micah emphasised how much that would be against the interests of both Bougainville and PNG.

A major concern for me was that Mr. Micah emphasised that it would be far too sensitive to even mention or discuss environmental clean-up of Panguna with Rio Tinto. The sale of the shares was the only issue that could be discussed, He said that issues had to be dealt with only as a commercial transaction, without any reference to environmental issues.

I made it clear to both Mr. Micah and Mr. O’Neill that the ABG could not support the National Government proposals. At the same time, I made contact with Rio Tinto to check their position. I was advised that the Rio process to review its investment was ongoing, and that there was no immediate proposal to sell the equity in BCL.

So I then wrote a letter to the Prime Minister in mid-December saying it was not acceptable to Bougainville that the National Government become the major shareholder in, and in control of, BCL. I made it clear that if Rio Tinto does decide to withdraw from BCL, its shares must come to the ABG and the landowners. In addition, I said, Rio cannot be permitted to escape its clear responsibilities for an environmental clean-up, and for other mining legacy issues.

I also decided that because of the ‘strange’ information about Rio received from Mr. Micah and Mr. O’Neill, and the high degree of uncertainty about Rio’s plans, that I should re-establish direct communication with Rio Tinto. I had begun that direct communication in July last year at a meeting I had with their senior representatives in Singapore.

The main issues I raised in that meeting concerned why the Rio review process was taking so long – it had then been ongoing for 11 months. I also communicated to Rio the continued ABG and landowner interest in engaging with Rio and BCL about jointly examining the possibilities of re-opening the Panguna mine.

We achieved no concrete progress at that July meeting. But the ABG did make clear our view that if Rio does decide to withdraw from BCL that the ABG strongly opposes transfer of the equity to the National Government. I also indicated that we would then seek transfer of the equity to the ABG, and an environmental clean-up. Rio indicated willingness to negotiate such issues, but otherwise did not specifically respond to what I raised.

Rio agreed to my December proposal for renewed direct engagement, and we met again in Singapore in February. I was accompanied by the Minister for Mining and the Minister for Public Service.

This time we put a much more specific Bougainville position. I expressed deep concern about both the very long time that the Rio review of its investment in BCL was taking, and Rio’s failure to communicate at all about its progress.

After all, the ABG and landowners are significant stakeholders, and Rio has duties, that it acknowledges in its own published policies about how they do business, to maintain open communication with stakeholders.

We also emphasised again that the ABG and landowners remain willing to engage with BCL and Rio about jointly examining the possibilities of re-opening the Panguna mine.

However, I also said that if Rio does decide to end its investment, then the ABG remains completely opposed to any equity transfer to the National Government. Instead, there must be equity transfer to the ABG and landowners, without any payment.

I also stated firmly the ABG position that Rio must take full responsibility for an environmental clean-up, and for dealing with other major mine legacy issues.

I emphasised the history of BCL in Bougainville. Although it may have operated legally, under colonial legislation, the basis for the Bougainville Copper Agreement was clearly deeply unjust. It was not based on anything like the informed consent of impacted landowners, and almost completely ignored the concerns and interests of those landowners, and of Bougainvilleans more generally.

It was the long-term impacts of the injustice that led to action, not just by Ona and Serero, but also Damien Dameng, young mine workers, leaders of the Arawa Mungkas Association and the Bana and Siwai Pressure Groups, and others. Their key goal was NOT the long-term closure of the mine, but instead forcing BCL and the National Government to stop ignoring them. Instead, they wanted to negotiate a new and fair agreement, taking account of the concerns of landowners and the rest of the Bougainville community. Long term mine closure was not their goal, but rather the result of the much wider violent conflict that resulted from the conduct of first Police mobile squads and then PNGDF units deployed to Bougainville.

We stated clearly the need for Rio to honour the lessons that it had learnt from its Bougainville experience, and which it has since applied to its operations world-wide. As a result, widely published and advertised Rio policies emphasise principles of corporate social responsibility, informed consent by impacted indigenous communities, and the need to operate on the basis of terms that are just for all stakeholders.

The Rio officials made no official response. Other than emphasising the complexity of the issues involved, no explanation was offered for the long delay in completing the investment review. When pressed on when it could be expected to be complete, they indicated probably before the end of 2016.

In relation to the issues I raised about transfer of equity and Rio being responsible for a clean-up etc., I can understand that they might have some difficulties with what we put to them. Rio might feel, for example, that its majority-owned subsidiary (BCL) operated legally – in accordance with the laws of the day. Yet it lost everything at Panguna as the result of what they might see as a small violent group opposed to mining.

But if that is Rio’s position, then quite apart from the fact that the mine did not close because of Bougainville opposition to mining, in addition Rio would be ignoring its gravely serious responsibilities.

Rio Tinto is a foundation signatory to the sustainable development, and other principles of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM). Those principles are absolutely clear that the responsibilities of a mining company are not limited to its legal obligations alone – especially its legal obligations under deeply unjust colonial laws.

In today’s world, there is no doubt that Rio Tinto would be subject to intense international public criticism if it tried to walk away from its responsibilities for the environmental damage and other unjust legacies it created, or contributed to.

I presented Rio with a two page statement of the ABG position, and I seek leave of the House to table that document. I will arrange for copies to be provided to all members of the House.

The Rio officers indicated that they would consider the ABG position, and would respond within 2 to 3 months, probably at another meeting in Singapore. I am yet to hear more about such a meeting.

But I can assure this House, the Landowners from the former Panguna lease areas, and all other Bougainvilleans, that under my leadership, the ABG will continue to make it clear to both the National Government and Rio Tinto that Bougainville remains determined to protect its own interests.

It is not an option for the National Government to become majority shareholder of BCL.

If, as now seems highly likely, Rio decides to end its involvement in BCL, the equity must come to Bougainville, and Rio Tinto must accept its full historic responsibilities, and honour its obligations to Bougainvilleans. It cannot just walk away from Bougainville, and at the same time pretend to hold itself out to the world as a highly responsible company that learnt from its horrific experience in Bougainville by adopting new and appropriate modern standards of corporate responsibility.

I ask this House, and the people of Bougainville, to support my Government in its ongoing, life and death struggle, to protect the interests of the landowners, and of the wider Bougainville community.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

 

 

Bougainville News : A tribute to the late Hon Steven Pirika Kamma MP

SB

“The loss of a member of a family, especially the head of a family is a painful and devastating experience for any family, in any family anywhere. 

The loss of a leader among us and in our midst when there is still so much to be done is untimely.

The loss of good, honest and committed national leaders mandated by popular choice in democratic and free elections such as we have and value in this Region and in the country, is a tragic loss.

AS we mourn the passing of the late Hon Steven Pirika Kamma and as the people of South Bougainville and the rest of Bougainville realise and acknowledge he will no longer be with us, it is a time too that we look back at his personal achievements and his marks and contributions in life.”

TRIBUTE BY THE SPEAKER SIMON PENTANU MHR

ON THE OCCASION OF A SPECIAL MEETING OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO HONOUR AND PAY TRIBUTE TO THE LATE HON. STEVEN PIRIKA KAMMA MP

On Wednesday 03 March 2016 the casket containing the remains of the late Hon Steven Pirika Kamma MP was laid before the House of Representatives at Kubu, Buka, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. The casket was accompanied on two flights from Port Moresby to Buka by a parliamentary delegation led by the Speaker of the PNG National Parliament Hon Theodore Zurecnuoc. In the delegation were also United Resources Party stalwarts led by Member for Usino Bundi (Madang) Anthony Yagama MP. Stephen Kamma was a loyal member of the Party.

At the time of his passing Steven was Minister for State assisting the Prime Minister on constitutional matters. He was first elected as member for south Bougainville in 2008 and was serving his second term, 2012-2016, in the National Parliament

The Speaker Hon Simon Pentanu MHR led the tributes for and on behalf of the House of Representatives and members of the House. The President, Hon Chief Dr John Momis MHR also paid tribute on behalf of the People of Bougainville. The casket with the remains of the late Stephen Kamma was formally handed to ABG in a short speech on the floor of Parliament by The Speaker of the PNG National Parliament.

Following is a Tribute given by Speaker Simon Pentanu MHR in the House of Representatives.

The Hon the President, and Hon Members of the House of Representatives.

The Speaker of the PNG National Parliament Hon Theodore Zurenuoc MP

Member for Usino-Bundi Mr Anthony Yagama MP

Member for the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Mr Joe Lera MP

Member for North Bougainville, Mr Louta Ato MP

The family and relatives of the late Hon Steven Piriki Kamma MP

People of Bougainville.

The loss of a member of a family, especially the head of a family is a painful and devastating experience for any family, in any family anywhere.

The loss of a leader among us and in our midst when there is still so much to be done is untimely.

The loss of good, honest and committed national leaders mandated by popular choice in democratic and free elections such as we have and value in this Region and in the country, is a tragic loss.

Honourable Members,

At this juncture, when Bougainville is still faced with many challenges , quite often precarious and trying moments of maturity in its leadership, politics and direction;

At this time when unity and our unification is the clear and loud clarion call from the ABG leadership to all Members of this House, to our four Bougainville MPs in the National Parliament and to the People of Bougainville;

At a time when the people across all communities are seeking more awareness and efforts of all their  elected leaders as the clock ticks down to Referendum;

At a time like this when we lose leaders  in the prime of their political and other public life;

AT ALL THESE TIMES AND MORE, I dare say that death is a cheat on Bougainville.

Honourable Members,

Your life is a priceless gift to you. You cannot re-invent it. You cannot recreate it. You cannot copy it. You cannot clone yourself. Your Life is a gift from God. From Nature. From the Universe. From Mumira. From Tantanu. From Sunahan. Kumponing. All you have do is be mindful and look after it, take care of it. We must all spend some down time on our Health and Wellbeing. This is a message we must all store and carry in our hearts and minds as leaders all the time. It is your duty of care to do so. We owe this to the people who elected us to represent them as we go about our responsibilities to rebuild Bougainville. The state of any nation, any country is judged not only by its wealth and avarice but by the health of its citizens, especially its leaders.

AS we mourn the passing of the late Hon Steven Pirika Kamma and as the people of South Bougainville and the rest of Bougainville realise and acknowledge he will no longer be with us, it is a time too that we look back at his personal achievements and his marks and contributions in life.

This is also an occasion we pay tribute to the late Member’s life and recognise his successes, contributions and the legacy he leaves behind.

Stephen Pirika Kamma had a lot of heart and spent a lot of effort to go ahead in business. He had a lot of heart and worked hard to get into national politics. He did very well on both scores.

Steven also had a lot of heart and faith in himself that it was his responsibility to work hard for his family so they could get ahead in life. He also did very well on this score.

The late Stephen Kamma faced up to and moved on from the Bougainville crisis to gather himself in Rabaul, East New Britain province. A devastating natural disaster, the volcanic eruptions in Rabaul in September 1994 was another blow to his budding business. But instead of dwelling on the misfortunes,  this gave him more determination to lead his family from the front, and not complain and make excuses to fold up. Through all of this and at all times Stephen maintained his family intact.

With an eye for opportunities and contempt for failure after the hard years at home and a natural disaster in Rabaul the late Stephen Kamma headquartered his signature business in pest control in Port Moresby.

I believe from sharing times and moments together as a good friend that it was his control at the helm and determination move on and his personal trials and tribulations in the face of adverse and un-mitigating disasters that made him thinking about public life in politics.

The late Steven’s idea of politics was driven not necessarily by the notion of representation of people per se but rather by his idea that a representative is chosen, among other things,  to bring about practical, visible and tangible results competing in an arena where leaders are vying  for resources and where a leader’s worth and ability is judged often by what developmental changes and improvements he or she can effect to the lives and well-being of the people.

This country is a very rural society where the majority of our people still live in villages. The best evidence of a meaningful link by an elected leader in many ways is a residence among one’s community in the village. The late Mr Kama had a home in his village in his community where he spent considerable time, relatively speaking, with his people.

His record of contacts, links, discussions and offers of advice to the President, some Ministers and members of this House, especially from south Bougainville  is a record he can be justifiably proud of as a national MP. His presence and visits and projects is what did the talking for him.

On the ground in Bougainville as well as in Port Moresby from to time his direct approach to our President on many occasions when matters of interest to Bougainville needed to be explained or when differences and confusion between Kubu and Waigani needed moderating the Hon Member often appeared when he would make  the judgment that his help and arbitration was called for to maintain dialogue between the National Government that he was an integral part of and ABG leadership. His quiet interventions did not always become news stories.

The late Hon Member always keenly followed the ABG elections and the formation of Governments after elections on the ground in the Region. To this end he maintained contact with members from his region and electorate in the south.

Hon Members,

This House recognises and places on record its grateful appreciation of the service and duty of the late Honourable Member as one of the 4 elected Members in the National Parliament. Under the provisions of the Bougainville Constitution our 4 Bougainville MPs in the National Parliament are also Members of this House.

Stephen Kamma, you are laid on the floor of this House as a member of the House. It is not only right but also fitting that this is the case because while our three national MPs each represent the three regions and the regional members represents the whole island, collectively you all represent the People of Bougainville.

The honourable member passed away in office as a Minister of State. Despite issues with his Health the Steven Kamma never winced or blinked his eyes about the duties and responsibilities of a Minister. He stayed on the crease batting to the last innings without getting out. There is no doubt he wanted to see his second term in Parliament right through to the end. Unfortunately this was not to be. While some people may criticise this, the late Minister always kept in touch and abreast and still took decisions right to the end. He valued and knew that two voices for Bougainville in Cabinet was better than one.  He was  loyal to the Government he was a part of. He was a loyal member of his Party.

The Hon late Stephen Kamma is the first Bougainvillean since elections started in PNG in 1964 and since Independence in 1975 to die in office as a serving member and Minister of State.

We have lost a self-made businessman, a proud Siwai entrepreneur  like many other Siwais that are the heart-throb of business and commerce in many areas in Bougainville. He was a kind hearted philanthropist to those that he helped and that knew him well personally.

He found assurance and confidence with his peers in Parliament regardless of the changing and tumultuous times PNG is going through . Bougainville has lost a leader, a proud carrier of our mantle at the national political level. Hon Stephen Kama is a big loss to Bougainville at a time we can least afford to lose our elected leaders.

This House extends its deepest sympathy and condolence to the family of the late Steven Kama, Anna and her children Michael and Pamela and their adopted children at this difficult time in their bereavement. You have a lost a loving husband and father.

May God bless his soul as he rests in His Kingdom. May he rest in Eternal Peace

To conclude, may I on behalf Members assembled here this morning and the People of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville offer our sincere thanks and appreciation to you, the Hon Speaker of the PNG National Parliament and your delegation for accompanying the remains of the late Honourable Stephen Kamma and gracing us with your presence on this occasion. Thank you for handing him back to Bougainville, especially to his people in south Bougainville through  this House.

 

Bougainville Women’s News : Australia supports Young Women’s Leadership Project in Bougainville

Australia supports women in Bougainville

The project will emphasise the value of women candidates and promote men’s respect for the rights of their wives and partners to choose who they wish to vote for,”

Ambassador Stott Despoja said

Deputi Spika blong Autonomous Bougainville Gavman, Francesca Semoso em i salim bikpela tok tengkyu long gavman na pipol blong Australia long help ol i bin wok long givim Autonomous Region blong Bougainville.

Australia is supporting two new projects aimed at improving leadership skills and voter awareness among women in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, Natasha Stott Despoja, today launched the Young Women’s Leadership and the Voter Awareness and Leadership Education projects while on a visit to Bougainville.
Funded through the Australian aid program, the K2.8 million Young Women’s Leadership Project will support young women to build leadership skills and confidence to have a greater voice in local and regional government affairs and policy development.
The K1 million Voter Awareness and Leadership Education project will assist men and women to fully participate in and understand democratic processes.
“The project will emphasise the value of women candidates and promote men’s respect for the rights of their wives and partners to choose who they wish to vote for,” Ambassador Stott Despoja said.
Australia supports gender equality in the Autonomous Bougainville Government through a jointly developed and agreed to gender investment plan (2014-19) valued at $14 million. The plan focuses on three key areas: to reduce gender-based violence and provide support services for survivors; strengthen women’s leadership and influence in decision-making; and improve women’s economic opportunities.
In consultation with the PNG Government and the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), Australia is increasing its aid to Bougainville to support stability by strengthening governance and service delivery, promoting social cohesion and economic growth, and empowering women and youth.

Deputi Spika blong Autonomous Bougainville Gavman, Francesca Semoso itok tenk yu long Australia long despla raon blong Ms Stott Despoja long Bougainville

Deputi Spika blong Autonomous Bougainville Gavman, Francesca Semoso em i salim bikpela tok tengkyu long gavman na pipol blong Australia long help ol i bin wok long givim Autonomous Region blong Bougainville.

Long nau ia, gavman blong Australia igat wanpela 14 million dollar 2014-2019 program wantaim ABG long sait long helpim ol meri.

Stat long Trinde ikam inap long tede, Ambassador blong Australia long sait long ol meri na gels, Natasha Stott Despoja em ibin visitim Bougainville.

Long Trinde em ibin lonsim Bougainville Women’s Federation facilities long Buka.

Ms Despoja ibin bungim to ol 4 pela meri insait long ABG palamen.

Na Francesca Semoso husat i memba makim ol meri long North Bougainville i tok ol meri lida ia ibin tokim Ms Despoja long go toksave long bikpela tengkyu long gavman blong Australia long olgeta help long olgeta yia.

Bougainville reflections :For the mothers, peace in Panguna has come in many respects.

Smoke

“A mother in the village is one with Mother Earth, she never ever doubts motherland will provide all bare and sumptuous necessities for life. Always, in all ways.

Development, progress, growth and impact projects continue to be misnomers for the rural majority that is subsistent, self sufficient, interdependent and content.”

Simon Pentanu

I took this shot in a recent visit to Panguna, 15 January 2016. It was a moving white marvel against dense forest greenery to look at with naked eyes from the distance. It was saying something the more I looked at it and the more I noticed it and saw two other white smokes rising from bushes in the distance farther beyond.

This white smoke was bellowing from the evergreen forest floor and bushes on the hilly periphery of one of the largest open cut mines in the world, Panguna, along old growth alpine virgin forests and rugged, rocky mountain spine of Moreha’s (Bougainville) Crown Prince Range.

Where there’s white smoke rising there’s a mother weeding, toiling and gardening. She will return to her garden in time to harvest the fruits of her labour.

A mother in the village is one with Mother Earth, she never ever doubts motherland will provide all bare and sumptuous necessities for life. Always, in all ways.

Development, progress, growth and impact projects continue to be misnomers for the rural majority that is subsistent, self sufficient, interdependent and content.

Food security also means you cannot eat money but you should still grow, gather, hunt or catch for your sustenance. This is what the world is coming to, not what Referendum and Independence promise which is trying to catch up with the rest of the world and be like the Jones’s or join the rat race with the Toms, Dicks, Harrys and Muhammads.

Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills, in the rift valleys and ravines, along the the river banks and along meandering creeks that the possibilities in the modern, civilised world are limitless.

Mothers though will say this to you: theirs is a symbiotic and mutually belonging relationship together with Mother Earth where they live for each other everyday. It is not an existential crisis or struggle for survival. They belong to the land, they aren’t separate from it. They sow and reap with care and respect without ripping into the guts and disemboweling their land.

For the mothers, peace up here has come in many respects. The most telling is that the land is replenishing and renewing itself albeit it’ll never ever be the same again. But their consolation and proof of this is in better root crop harvests, many more fingers on banana bunches, firm and oilier ground nuts, plentiful fruits and vegetables and seeing grasshoppers that have come back often to their annoyance.

May be even the copper, gold and silver are replenishing and growing to replace what was mined and taken out.

The other thing that is quite telling and that makes life worth living as it was is that women in Panguna can experience and benefit from the power of quiet in their own world which which was always disturbed by unrelenting world of noise of men and machines digging and ripping out the heart of their land.

Life in the village usually starts early for women than men. When he’s still taking time to get up and wipe his eyes awake, she’s left for the garden with her metal and wooden implements to continue from where she left her gardening the other day.

Seeing rising thick and thin white smokes here and there from the gardens on hilly and forested peripheries of the mine means life has gone back to normal.

But has it really?

Bougainville House of Representatives : Statement by the Speaker Simon Pentanu

 Simon Pentanu

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

Office of the Speaker

STATEMENT BY SPEAKER

Budget session

The Speaker of the House of Representatives Simon Pentanu MHR has announced the 2015 Budget meeting will commence on Monday 21 December at 2 o’clock pm. This is the date agreed to in consultation with the President and the Minister for Finance taking into account the preparation time for the budget to be finalised. The House will meet over two to three days to consider and approve the Autonomous Region’s  budget for 2016.

This will be the final meeting for this year. The first meeting of the House in the New Year will be in March at a date and time to be fixed by the Speaker in consultations with the President.

In a prepared statement the Speaker also made brief reference to a number matters on his impressions to the start of the Third House 2015-2020.

Parliamentary Committees

The Speaker said the start to his term in Office has been eventful. It has been a period of settling in for all members, including Ministers. The Speaker expressed a particular delight that the House has appointed its main and important select and statutory parliamentary committees early in the life of the Third House. The parliamentary committee system in its full operational capacity would provide the best opportunities for members to play their rightful roles in wider and inclusive ways as leaders, lawmakers and elected representatives.

 Parliament poorly resourced

Mr Pentanu said resources,  financial resources in particular, will continue to be a challenge in the administration of the Parliament. In this regard the Speaker said that sadly, over the last ten years the Parliament which is an important arm of the Government has been poorly resourced. Even more appalling, the Legislature as one of the three symbiotic arms of the Government has been regarded , if not degraded as if it is just another administrative arm of the Autonomous Bougainville Administration.

He said that unless this attitude is changed Parliament and its parliamentarians will not play their representative, lawful roles as long as the Parliamentary Service continues to be poorly resourced. He said it is already obvious to him that the demand on members’ time and effort compared to the meagre resources that come with the office of a member is enormous. A Parliament and parliamentary service that is adequately resourced can plan well in supporting the constitutional mandate of elected leaders and provide integrity and respect to the roles they are expected to perform.

Financial Accountability

Our whole financial administration regime and accountabilities for funds at every level need to be blow torched and overhauled. We cannot continue to walk up and down the same corridors and expect different results. I am confident however, we have the leaders in Parliament to institute changes through well thought out and considered decisions to demand more and better accountabilities overall over ABG’s finances  in order to do and achieve more from the resources Bougainville is raises and receives. Our members are not just law makers, the Parliament is also the highest oversight body to which the Executive and the bureaucracy is accountable.

Women’s participation

Our women parliamentarians have shown confidence, commitment, desire and a strong will to make their marks inside and outside Parliament as they strive to represent women of Bougainville. Their participation in debates, the questions they direct at the ministerial benches and their appreciation of what their roles entail has been impressive so far.

Former combatants

Our three members representing the former combatants have contributed to discussions and debates in an assured way. They are members of important parliamentary select committees. However, as representatives of interest groups the members need more assistance in articulating the hovering constituency issues in a way that Parliament and Bougainville leadership may be able to involve or utilise their membership in a progressive way in connection with the constituents they represent.

Positive start

The management of the business of the House, the corporation and collaboration with the Executive in Parliament and attendance and  participation by all members during parliamentary sessions has been pleasing. Members have benefitted from inductions at the start of their political and parliamentary career. Member’s attendance and participation at a recent parliamentary seminar jointly hosted by the Department of Referendum, Peace and Veterans in a rural setting was very encouraging.

Autonomous funding

Ours is a Parliament by the People, for the People, of the People and we must go back to the People at every opportunity.  I do not see why this should be difficult when this is the duty and desire of all members. It is absolutely possible with proper planning and adequate funding under an arrangement in which Parliament is funded separately in an autonomous arrangement where it is provided and is accountable for its funding.

 

Bougainville Education News :An educated population is key to a strong and progressive Bougainville

 

 

Ed

Bougainville right now needs a lot of educated people to manage and guide the region as we prepare ourselves for referendum.In three years time, the people of Bougainville will be voting for their own political future and it important that people are educated about this issue.It is a must that the human capital resource must be highly educated in order for Bougainville to prosper”

ABG Minister for Community Development, Josephine Getsi

A total of 224 Early Childhood Teachers graduated from a two weeks training workshop at Morou Village in the Baubake Constituency area at the weekend.

The ceremony was witnessed by three ABG Members, the Minister for Community Government, Hon. Jacob Tooke, and Minister for Community Development, Josephine Getsi and Minister Assisting the President, Hon. Robert Tsika.

The three members told the graduation ceremony that the government fully supports the initiative by those wanting to promote education as the number one priority.

They also said their presence at the ceremony is testimony of the government’s commitment to provide education to the whole population of Bougainville.

The emphasis is on providing quality education as against general education.

An educated population is key to a strong and progressive government or country.

The ABG Minister for Community Development, Josephine Getsi says education is the backbone of any country adding that it is through education a person can bring change to the environment.

 You can support Bougainville education thru James Tanis  project http://www.bookgainville.com

Bookgainville Project on Bougainville PNG