” As we celebrate Independence Day for 2019, I want to reflect on the upcoming referendum and the future political path of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
As a Bougainvillean and a Papua New Guinean, I am less concerned about Greater Autonomy, Independence (or the ‘Third Choice’ whatever it might be). The simple fact is that two options are already guaranteed, and it is now for the people to make their choice.
My real concern is more about our insouciance and disregard for good governance that we must sternly guard against, whatever the political outcome of referendum will be. For, good governance is one of the major considerations that must be ticked off or crossed when it comes to ratification of the vote.
Here I say, take heed the soothsayers say, or forever hold your breath.”
Hon. Simon Pentanu MHR GCL : Speaker
Bougainville House of Representatives
Picture Above : Prime Minister, JAMES MARAPE and ABG President, DR. JOHN MOMIS signed the joint resolution September 12 at the Presidential villa Buka in front of journalists and the Ministers and members from both the ABG and the National Government. See Part 2 for full details or Download Document Here
Whatever the choice is, and we know that Independence is the greater expectation of most Bougainvilleans, we have to make it work. This is the essence of my message today. Let us not tire of talking about good governance, honest and transparent leadership, common sense, and not being above or beyond reproach. Let us not forget the foundation stones and the building blocks of good government, regardless of what form that Government takes.
Adherence to good governance must be the message delivered in unison by the people to their representatives in the House of Representatives and to Leaders in Government. All Leaders, whether at the national, provincial or community government level, must be held to account.
Without regard for good governance the writing is on the wall. We know this from the countless examples of developing countries that have been turned into pariah states by their own Leaders in power.
Let us avoid the pitfalls of bad governance by making a conscious and conscientious choice for good governance without making compromises, taking short cuts or looking for quick fixes at the leadership level.
Nothing is more certain than the dire consequences that befall a people whose leaders turn a blind eye, a deaf ear and who play mute to the evils of corruption.
Conversely, nothing is more certain than the successes and gross national happiness and contentment that follows when elected leaders live up to the oaths and loyalties they swear by and the responsibilities they promise to live up to in office, leading the people from the front.
We can grab and take the opportunities to heart or we can squat and squander them. It is my sincere hope this Independence Day, that our leaders take the former rather than the latter path.
Hon. Simon Pentanu MHR GCL
Bougainville House of Representatives
Part 2 Editors note
Congratulations to Simon Pentanu, who has been named on the 2019 Independence Day Anniversary Honours List. Simon Pentanu
Mr. Pentanu will be awarded the Grand Companion of the Order of Logohu (GCL) Conerred with the title of “Chief” for distinguished public service in the senior roles of Clerk of the National Parliament, Chief Ombudsman, and currently as Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
Prime Minister, JAMES MARAPE and ABG President, DR. JOHN MOMIS signed the joint resolution in the afternoon at the Presidential villa in front of journalists and the Ministers and members from both the ABG and the National Government.
The first Agenda was concerning the request by the BRC to extend the Referendum date by six weeks from October 12th Polling to November 23rd Polling.
The BRC had sought for additional time for the referendum roll to be updated so that the outcome is credible and has integrity.
Agenda two was on weapons disposal, after the joint Weapons disposal secretariat briefed the JSB on the progress of the Me’ekamui Weapons disposal program, the JSB resolved and noted that the weapons disposal work must continue, and also touched on the National Reconciliation ceremony that must be held between the National Government and the ABG and also between the veterans.
Agenda three was on the Post Referendum Transition of which many discussions have been made and also looking at the legal issues going forward.
The JSB noted the progress made so far and resolved for the establishment of a Joint Ministerial Task Force on Post Referendum.
Approved for the Post Referendum Task Force to identify facilitators/moderators to assist in the Post referendum negotiation period.
And there must be one national moderator and one external moderator.
The fourth Agenda looked at the Restoration and Development Grants in which both governments have been at loggerheads over the calculations for the RDG.
The JSB resolved to accept the calculations made by an independent expert engaged by the UNDP and that officers work on these calculations and settle those outstanding through the RDG and SIF programs.
The JSB also resolved to approve a new arrangement for the National Government to provide 100 Million annually to the ABG for the next ten years starting next year.