Bougainville Government News : First 100 days Achievements of Chief Secretary Joseph Nobetau

 ” The challenges that we face are immense. As Chief Secretary I am honoured to be able to serve Government and commit to maintaining the full degree of energy, integrity and direction required to help the Government achieve its objectives.

Whilst much has already been done, it is incumbent on all public servants, both senior and junior, to ensure we deliver the public services that all Bougainvilleans so richly deserve.

Challenges and Upcoming Priorities

Despite some achievements it is clear that much more needs to be done. Key priorities include:

  • Enhancing engagement to ensure a more joined up approach to Government service delivery;
  • Ensuring effective coordination of donor support so that we can maximize the value of existing international development assistance whilst harnessing new and emerging development opportunities;
  • Ensuring effective community engagement so that our people understand what it is that the Government is doing for them;
  • Ensuring that corporate plans are adhered to and remain reflective of Government objectives;
  • Ensuring that the BEC remains well supported and that submissions reflect whole-of-Government considerations and priorities;
  • Continuing work to undertake urban and town planning activities to enhance infrastructure and housing to address need;
  • Getting the new integrated financial management system in place to deliver more effective, transparent and accountable financial management practices across Government;
  • Continued work on the draw-down of powers to support autonomy;
  • Convening the Revenue and Taxation Summit; and
  • Ensuring that the Bougainville Referendum Commission is fully established and that important stakeholder and community engagement work commences.

Joseph Nobetau Chief Secretary ABG

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Media_Statement_-_Achievements_Joseph_Nobetau_Chief_Secretary_2017

Following my appointment to the Office of Chief Secretary on 17 October 2017, I have been engaged in a process of reform aimed at enhancing the capacity of the Department of President and the BEC and the broader public service.

As Chief Secretary I have engaged extensively with key stakeholders including Ministers, Secretaries, donors, the private sector and civil society. Through this work I have gained valuable insight into the workings of the public sector and the need for change and reform.

The purpose of this statement is to provide the general public with an update of the work that has been undertaken since my appointment, outline the challenges that I see moving forward and to canvass the priorities that are ahead.

Consultations

Ministers

Since commencing as Chief Secretary I have been able to meet with all Ministers. Through these discussions I have gained valuable insight into key ministerial priorities which has in turn informed my work with portfolio Secretaries and keystake holders. These discussions have been invaluable in informing my Department’s broader reform agenda and have assisted with some critical organisational change decisions.

Secretaries

As Chief Secretary I see it as an important part of my role to provide leadership and guidance to Secretaries. Since commencing as Chief Secretary I have convened Senior Management Committee meetings and met one on one with all Secretaries.

In my discussions I have emphasised the President’s key messages around organisational capability and the need to deliver meaningful outcomes with respect to service delivery and public service reform. These discussions have been positive, and whilst there will continue to be some challenges I will continue to ensure that all public servants remain mindful of their need to be accountable and responsive to Government and the people that we serve.

Parliamentary Services

As Chief Secretary I consider it essential that clear lines of communication be in place with the Office of Parliamentary Services. To that end, I have developed a strong working relationship with the Speaker of Parliament with a view to ensuring better links between the public service, the BEC and parliament.

This work is already showing dividends through more effective coordination of public service policy development and programme delivery and parliamentary business.

Community Government

I have been working with the Secretary for Community Government to make changes to Executive Manager arrangements to ensure more responsive community government across Districts. In that context, some immediate changes have already been made to realign resources so that we can better meet the needs of local communities. I will continue to work with the Secretary to ensure that resources at the District level are appropriate so as to enable effective community engagement and service delivery.

International Engagement

International engagement is a critical part of the Chief Secretary role. With significant donor representation in Buka I have reached out to key bilateral and multilateral partners to discuss how donor activities support the work of the ABG and to explore opportunities for more effective engagement and aid coordination. This has included my work as chair of the Australian and New Zealand funded GIF (Governance Implementation Fund) and work with the Australian Funded PNG Governance Facility.

Advisory Support and Donor Engagement

The ABG continues to receive support from a range of donors in relation to the key areas of governance, peace building, health, transport, law and justice and election support. As Chief Secretary I acknowledge the value of this support with a number of key advisers providing advice to my office and across government to progress important initiatives in areas including: recruitment, legal advice and support, draw down of powers, election preparations, media and communication, strategic and corporate planning, economic development, revenue and taxation, urban planning, monitoring and evaluation, financial management and strategic engagement. While in the longer term it is my hope that the ABG will develop the internal capacity to manage these important issues independent of donor support, the support we currently receive has been a critical part of our recent progress.

Aid Coordination

In terms of aid coordination, I continue to engage with key donors regarding how we can target support to get the best possible outcomes. I am of the view that any support must be clearly aligned with ABG priorities and be based on ensuring meaningful capacity building where ABG officers are able to learn from the support provided and manage issues independently in the future. A key future priority will be developing an effective aid coordination mechanism within my Department to ensure the most efficient use of donor support.

Bilateral and Multilateral Engagement

In February 2017 my office coordinated briefing for the visit by NZ Minister for Foreign Affairs the Hon. Murray McCully. The meeting provided a valuable opportunity to talk with a key development partner and friend, with the Foreign Minister committing to ongoing support to the ABG in the lead up to the referendum and beyond.

Vice President Masono hosted a visit by a delegation from the European Union which comprised of the EU Ambassador to PNG, the French Ambassador to PNG and senior officials on 20 February 2017. The visit provided a valuable opportunity to reinforce the ABG’s development priorities and for delegation members to see firsthand some of the challenges that face our young and emerging democracy.

Feedback from the visit was positive, with the EU Ambassador indicating a very strong desire to provide support to Bougainville in key areas including infrastructure, water sanitation and vocational education (amongst others). These are consistent with priorities identified through the PNG-EU dialogue and present opportunities for the ABG to partner with the EU in a number of short to medium term high impact areas. It is hoped that in the near future a delegation led by the Vice President will travel to Port Moresby to meet with senior National Government Officials and the EU Ambassador to explore how this commitment for support can be translated into meaningful action.

Community Engagement

At the community level I have engaged widely with non-Government and volunteer organisations and the education sector. I consider these stakeholders to be essential from a social development perspective.

In December I was honoured to be asked to deliver the keynote address at the Hutjena High School graduation. This was an excellent opportunity for me to deliver a key message on leadership and the value of quality education. My message was that as emerging leaders high school graduates are well placed to make a long term contribution to our economic, social and development goals.

In February I was honoured to speak at the Public Service Dedication Service. I used this as an opportunity to reinforce the need for a responsive public service, noting that planning is the cornerstone of success.

I continue to work with local mainline churches to progress aerial surveys of available land to enhance housing and community infrastructure. This work has included undertaking aerial surveys in Buka, Arawa and Buin to aid town planning, including the potential development of a teachers college in Buin and new housing development in Arawa and Buka.

Organisational Reform

Communication

Communication is the cornerstone of any well-functioning public service. As Chief Secretary my primary aim has been to enhance communication within Government and to our key stakeholders. I have achieved this by chairing Senior Management Committee meetings, engaging with Secretaries and senior leaders, connecting with Districts through radio programmes and working with our civil society partners.

This process is now starting to show results. Department Heads are becoming more engaged and my office has increased visibility of key public sector initiatives.

Despite this it is clear that much more needs to be done, particularly with respect to communicating initiatives to the broader community. In that context I am working with officials in my Department, including my Deputy Secretary, to enhance our media and communication strategy. Whilst there has been some good work in this area many of the initiatives that we need to enhance community awareness have stalled. With the referendum fast approaching this is not acceptable, and a key future priority will be to enhance mechanisms to more effectively communicate with the people.

Corporate Planning

A functional public service requires well thought out policy measures that respond to the needs of Government. This has been lacking in the past. It is clear to me that the public service must be more accountable and responsive.

To that end I have commenced a process to put in place departmental corporate plans. I see these documents as being key to addressing issues of accountability and ministerial expectations. By having in place well thought out plans that reflect Government and ministerial priorities the public service has a means by which to measure whether or not we are meeting core goals and responsibilities. It is my hope that these plans will be finalised in the coming month and that they will in turn help inform the development of a longer term strategic development plan that maps our key development priorities over the years to come.

Recruitment Processes

Open and merit based recruitment processes are an essential part of ensuring that we attract the best and brightest to our public service ranks. I have therefore taken a very close interest in recent recruitment rounds with a view to ensuring that the public service fully adheres to the principles of fair, open and transparent recruitment.

Retrenchments

In late 2016, in consultation with the Secretary for Personnel Management and Administration, arrangements were made to retire a number of officers who had reached the mandatory retirement age. This process was undertaken to ensure compliance with the Public Service Management Act and as part of a broader strategy of ensuring the appropriate resourcing of the public service in the longer term.

Senior leaders Training

As Chief Secretary I have participated in the Australian Government funded senior leaders training which is being conducted by the Queensland University of Technology. I see this training as being a valuable tool through which principles of management can be reinforced, whilst providing an ongoing opportunity for senior leaders to work closely with Ministers.

Overarching MoU on Draw Down of Powers

Work is currently underway to enable the signing of the overarching MoU on the draw-down of powers by the ABG and National Government Public Service Ministers. This will be a critical enabling step in achieving further autonomy.

Financial Management and Elimination of Corruption

Financial Management Systems

In line with the President and Government’s expectations I am heavily focused on financial management and accountability. As Chief Secretary I am conscious of my role in ensuring whole-of-Government financial accountability and working with the Secretary for Finance to enhance our financial management accountability frameworks. In particular, I am actively engaged in work to fast track implementation of the new Integrated Financial Management System within the ABG.

Revenue and Taxation Summit

For some time now it has been proposed that the ABG convene a Revenue and Taxation Summit to review existing revenue raising capacity and to explore means through which the ABG can enhance and consolidate our revenue base.

I am pleased to advise that work in the area is now progressing and that I am working with the Secretary of Finance to convene the summit in the coming months. The summit will provide an opportunity for key stakeholders and subject matter experts to convene.

Referendum Preparations

Bougainville Referendum Commission

On the 24th of January 2017 I travelled to Port Moresby to co-sign the enabling agreement with my national Government counterpart to establish the Bougainville Referendum Commission. The Commission will be an essential mechanism through which the operational management of the referendum will be conducted, and importantly, through which stakeholder and community engagement can occur. I am currently working with the Secretaries for Peace Agreement Implementation and Law and Justice to ensure that all constitutional and organic law requirements have been met prior to the final charter establishing the Commission being signed off by the Governor-General.

Challenges and Upcoming Priorities

Despite some achievements it is clear that much more needs to be done. Key priorities include:

  • Enhancing engagement to ensure a more joined up approach to Government service delivery;
  • Ensuring effective coordination of donor support so that we can maximize the value of existing international development assistance whilst harnessing new and emerging development opportunities;
  • Ensuring effective community engagement so that our people understand what it is that the Government is doing for them;
  • Ensuring that corporate plans are adhered to and remain reflective of Government objectives;
  • Ensuring that the BEC remains well supported and that submissions reflect whole-of-Government considerations and priorities;
  • Continuing work to undertake urban and town planning activities to enhance infrastructure and housing to address need;
  • Getting the new integrated financial management system in place to deliver more effective, transparent and accountable financial management practices across Government;
  • Continued work on the draw-down of powers to support autonomy;
  • Convening the Revenue and Taxation Summit; and
  • Ensuring that the Bougainville Referendum Commission is fully established and that important stakeholder and community engagement work commences.

 

 

 

Joseph Nobetau

Bougainville Tourism News: Some insights into tourism development in #Bougainville #PNG

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“ABG recognises the largely untapped potential of tourism and is aware Bougainville has the natural attraction to lure adventure and niche’ travellers to its shores. But a lot needs to be done . Success does not come overnight. There are no short cuts and quick fixes in success in anything.

ABG’s financial resources and capacity which has to be shared with other areas and services seeking more urgent attention has not been easy. Clearly, this creates a lot of room and space for private enterprise driven participation in an industry that can be both profitable and enjoyable with the right advice and approach and sense of ownership.

Simon Pentanu was appointed Speaker of the Bougainville House of Representatives in June 2015.

Picture above Bungalows under progress at Uruna Bay Retreat

He comes from Pokpok Island where he has a home and a private retreat through which community participation and paid employment of women and youth amongst its Island communities is being promoted. He advocates“small, rural and local is beautiful” across Bougainville.

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Bougainville’s natural  beauty and attractions, including its vibrant culture like the rest of the country, can be best showcased with serious and deliberate government involvement. For now this is lacking and can be explained largely as a result of lack of resources, capacity and focus and due to the fact that since it was established the tourism office and responsibility has been moved from pillar to post. The settling in, focus, funding and seriousness has been amiss.

With so much potential staring at us in the face tourism in Bougainville it is time our political leaders and bureaucrats alike take the attitude that if tourism has to contribute to ABG’s coffers, then it should be well-intended and for good gain. A number of private operators that have been self-starters to promote tourism are the ones carrying the baton up front. The amount of promotion they are doing both out of joy in promoting the beauty of the Island and as a business is a good story.

The Autonomous  Region today is, in many ways, at the stage in its attempts to promote tourism where PNG was about 30 years ago. Then, PNG started its budding attempts to promote the industry. It wasn’t something easy like a casual walk along the beach, a nearby bushwalk or a small hill climb. It was gradual with early forays into areas of unique attractions like for example driving into a village in Asaro to be greeted by its famous mystical Asaro mud men. There are other numerous examples such as the early cruises up the Sepik or the Baining Fire Dance and the Malagan mask phenomena in the New Guinea Islands. Along the way tourists started fitting their itineraries and visits to the annual calendar of many provincial Cultural Shows which have now become well renown and frequentedannual events. Bougainville can not only learn enormously from these early starts, including teething issues in the rest of PNG but can start to fit its own cultural events around some of the dates of these events.

The PNGTA is a vast repository of information and experience that Bougainville tourism authorities can tap into. The world has become small in an industry that has virtually encompassed countries  globally and where there are no boundaries or barriers to movement or travel, barring religious and fanatical wars. PNGTA is benefitting enormously from its membership, attendance and participation in regional and global tourism events. It has also learnt that it does not have to copy or compete for the same markets like others but has created its own brand of adventure, cultural and niche’ attractions.

photo BT

SEE Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotions Authority Website

Along the way PNGTA has learnt some hard, some sad but many useful lessons. The aches and pains have come with the successes and joys in seeing and industry grow into many niche’ attractions around its many tribal and ethnic cultures, languages, landscapes and seascapes. Bougainville stands to gain a lot from the road travelled and challenges met by PNGTA. Bougainville does not have to reinvent the wheel but we can improve the oiling and lubrication in our spokes and nuts and bolts to cruise forward with so much potential begging to be tapped.

MELB

SEE : Bougainville community support and vision puts Bougainville tourism on the world’s stage

Zhon Bosco Miriona, Managing Director of Bougainville Experience Tours for second time in the past few years was able to represent Bougainville on the world stage supported by Colin Cowell an International media and tourism consultant with over 25 years’ experience marketing Indigenous tourism

Bougainville

In March 2016 Zhon is representing Bougainville in Germany at ITB the worlds largest travel show VIEW ITB SITE Listing

Download the PNG ITB Promo press release

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Top Photo Social media  : Online tour bookings site , Facebook ,@YesBougainville on Twitter and Bougainville Tourism INSTAGRAM are playing an important role in Bougainville Experience Tours  International Marketing

Second Photo Above : Developing partnerships with Wako Napusu Inbound operator Country Tour PNG and Asian operators above to bring in small groups for a 7 day Bougainville Tour Experience

PNGTA has also matured in keeping in check the pros and cons of tourist invasions, so to speak. It is a very sensible approach. The country does not necessarily want to promote tourism for arrivals en mass. This is a very important consideration in developing niche’ markets and keeping cultures genuinely intact. No one can ever completely preserve cultures in a test tube or a freezer but impact of outside influence and modernity can be managed with sensible long term policies and cooperation between government policy makers and independent state supported tourism bodies or corporations. In this regard, in terms of government support to PNGTA it has been a journey on bumpy roads, through humps, pot-holes and sometimes swaying bridges along the way. But the Association has been the richer and mature for the experience.

Bougainville can learn from all of the above. We can forge meaningful contacts, contracts and understanding for assistance in going forward in a planned and deliberate fashion with PNGTA.

It is heartening to see emerging self-start operators like Zhon Miriona Bosco from Bougainville Experience Tours and others in north and south Bougainville to establish links with PNGTA in brooding tourism in Bougainville. In time, there is no doubt other individual operators will emerge as Bougainville continues to open up to one of the cleanest and visible industries that can promote the Island.

ABG recognises the largely untapped potential of tourism and is aware Bougainville has the natural attraction to lure adventure and niche’ travellers to its shores. But a lot needs to be done over the years. Success does not come overnight. There are no short cuts and quick fixes in success in anything. ABG’s financial resources and capacity which has to be shared with other areas and services seeking more urgent attention has not been easy. Clearly, this creates a lot of room and space for private enterprise driven participation in an industry that can be both profitable and enjoyable with the right advice and approach and sense of ownership.

Clear, comprehensive, comprehendible mid to long-term policies is one way ABG can put tourism on a better footing. It is from this position that the Ministry, office and authority charged with responsibility to promote tourism in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville can develop deliberate and better long term view from the standing, stationary start is at now.

In the present Momis-Nisira Government the Minister for Economic Affairs Hon Fidelis Semoso MP has the will, the clout, the credentials and the leverage required to establish a meaningful and working contact with PNGTA. This would move the office from its dormant existence to at least some level headed planning view to where or how far Bougainville wants to take its tourism.

There are some aspects of office work that does not necessarily need huge funds but rather just thinking things through and mapping out. One such area concerns the risks and inhibitions to any opportunity to attracting and expanding tourism as an industry. First and foremost is the issue of law and order. This is a major concern in selling tourism in PNG but to its credit the PNGTA has spared no effort in putting better and localised perspective to this menace. Bougainville can certainly learn a thing or two from the arduous efforts PNGTA has made in this area. Landowner issues is another one when trekking and bird watching or just bushwalking is involved. Issues of benefits to a local community are matters that should attract attention to authorities. Advice and mentoring to willing starters in local areas is another area our officials in tourism office can help without much expenditure in resources or efforts.

The cost of travel to and within PNG is expensive. In more Bougainville it is even more expensive right across the board including airfares, local transport, accommodation, even food in lodges and motels. This should change over time and there is some evidence of this as the level of accommodation and variety of food in Buka and Arawa in more decent accommodation is improving.

Bougainville Office of Tourism Website

Developing an annual calendar around cultural events that are staged by communities for their own importance and purpose at their own time is something the office responsible for tourism in Buka can certainly work on. It is more reliable to plan this way because for communities these cultural events aren’t scheduled around tourist visits but have been a part of their life and cultural significance for years. On the part of tourist office staff this involves going out to the people to promote awareness over time. Instead of waiting for large funds the tourism office should go out to the people for which the cost shouldn’t be huge at all.

Some training and education for intending and existing tour operators and tour guides is a must so there is proper awareness on the do’s and don’ts of tourism. Again there is no need to reinvent the wheel. A working relationship can be established with PNGTA to help the tourism office in Bougainville. To this end there are also opportunities annually for the office of tourism and for private operators to attend tourist expositions hosted by PNGTA and by other Associations in the region.

It often begs the question, what does the office of tourism actually do in Bougainville? This is not a rhetorical question but a question that is being asked more and more. And rightly so. When you have good, attractive, usable and functional product to develop and promote and sell very well  why is it hard to promote and sell. Everyone boasts about how Bougainville is beautiful, how we might become a Mecca for tourists looking for authentic pristine beauty or how relatively peaceful it is for tourist to find once they get here. BUT who is doing the hard yakka that’s got to be done?

The Minister responsible for tourism can be best served by the tourism office by providing good briefs on where we are at, where we want to be in the next four years based on the remaining years of the current Government. And, in addition, how best the Government and private operators can best consult each other. The experience of PNGTA in this regard would be quite valuable. The current Minister’s audacious, no nonsense and result oriented approach would bode well with the benefit of good, regular advice from those that are charged with developing the industry. As already mentioned, establishing meaningful links with PNGTA is bound to pay good, tangible dividends.

Bougainville has always learnt the hard way from its shortcomings. The courage and conviction of the people to succeed at all is always there and has always moved everybody on and forward. Tourism has the potential as a reliable and clean income earner and cash generator . We can do this through joint effort between government and private enterprise and through humbling ourselves to ask others that have travelled this road to help and guide us, specifically PNGTA. PNGTA is already a very recognisable product, a global brand name in the tourism industry.

Bougainville can prove its worth best through doing the hard work led by those tasked and paid in the office of tourism. Any other joint effort will come if the officers and authorities start pegging and advancing their work inside and outside the office. It is not enough to just trumpet out the all too familiar metaphor we are so used to chanting and hearing that “we can do it”.

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Simon Pentanu pictured above learning international tourism marketing from Colin Cowell ” selling ” to 30 international buyers at a travel Expo in Port Moresby 2014. From left Zhon , Colin ,Simon and James Tanis.

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“Bougainville is a land of simple, untouched pleasures; from our turquoise seas to lush rain forests.Experience our unique Bougainville Island, nature, culture, history and friendly people “

 

 

 

 

Bougainville Political News: PM O’Neill wasn’t consulted over new Australian mission in Bougainville

Dfat

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has said he was not consulted by Canberra over plans to set up a diplomatic post in Buka ,Bougainville, a politically sensitive autonomous region expected to hold a referendum on independence.

Report from The Australian online VIEW HERE

The federal government announced on Tuesday it would open five new overseas missions as part of this year’s national budget, including one at Buka in Bougainville.

Australian diplomats will also be dispatched to Doha, Mongolia and Phuket as Australia seeks to expand its footprint and spruik trade and investment opportunities.

But Mr O’Neill said there had been no consultation and no agreement to establish a post in Bougainville.

“We were shocked to learn from the budget documents that Australia is planning on establishing a diplomatic post in Bougainville,” Mr O’Neill said on a visit to Sydney today.

“I want to say that there has been no consultation on this proposal and there is no agreement to proceed,” he added.

“As we respect the territorial integrity of others, we expect others to respect ours as well.” He said that the region was a historically and politically sensitive area for PNG, with Bougainville voters expected to elect authorities in June who will call for a referendum on independence from the country as part of a 2001 peace agreement.

Under the agreement, Bougainville was promised the right to hold an independence referendum between 2015 and 2020.

It followed an almost decade-long, bitter guerilla war beginning in 1988 that claimed 10,000 lives.

The separatist conflict was the bloodiest in the Pacific since World War II, and ended when the New Zealand government helped broker a truce signed by all factions in 1997.

An Autonomous Bougainville Government was established in June 2005 as part of a United Nations-sponsored process.

O’Neill said that PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato was requesting more information about Australia’s proposal.

Pato Thursday described the plan as “outrageous” and “mischievous”.

“I’ve directed the acting secretary to call in the Australian high commissioner to explain the media accounts of this mischievous proposal to open a foreign mission on Bougainville,” Pato said in a statement, local media reported.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop insisted the matter was discussed with the PNG government during a visit she made to the country last December.

“Australia has a significant and growing development program in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, which is almost 50 per cent higher than 2012/13, and will continue to partner with the PNG government in supporting economic growth throughout PNG,” her spokeswoman said.

Bougainville is home to the giant Panguna copper deposit. A Panguna mine run by Bougainville Copper, a subsidiary of Australian-listed Rio Tinto, was forced to close in 1989 during the conflict.

Rio Tinto has said the PNG government as well as Bougainville’s leadership were supportive of restarting operations at what is one of the South Pacific’s largest mines for copper and gold.

Bougainville Election News : Mekamui Tribal Government says Panguna 100 % behind Momis

 

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“The Mekamui Tribal Government of Unity stands behind President Momis as we see him as the person who will lead us to freedom,”

“The Mekamui faction has also started the realignment process with the Autonomous Bougainville Government that will see reintegration and unity amongst all Bougainvilleans,”

Mekamui Defence Force hard man, Moses Pipiro declared that the people in Panguna area were 100 percent behind President Momis : Picture presenting shell money

Please note the following text supplied by ABG media

The Mekamui Tribal Government of Unity have pledged their support to incumbent ABG President Grand Chief Dr John Momis in this year’s ABG General Elections.

Mekamui Defence Force hard man, Moses Pipiro declared that the people in Panguna area were 100 percent behind President Momis’ bid to retain the ABG Presidency in a political rally held in the heart of the Panguna Township yesterday.

“The Mekamui Tribal Government of Unity stands behind President Momis as we see him as the person who will lead us to freedom,” Mr Pipiro said.

“The Mekamui faction has also started the realignment process with the Autonomous Bougainville Government that will see reintegration and unity amongst all Bougainvilleans,” he added.

“President Momis has been with us from the very start of our struggle for self-determination and he is the only one who knows where will go,” Mr Pipiro said.

Former ABG President James Tanis was also amongst a host of leaders from North, South and Central Bougainville who endorsed President Momis’s candidacy.(file picture )

 

Mr Tanis said that his decision not to stand for this year’s elections was to allow President Momis to complete the long journey that is Bougainville’s move to self-determination and should the people choose, total independence.

“President Momis’ is on the verge of completing what he started more than 40 years ago when he took up the fight for our people’s freedom,” Mr Tanis said.

“It would be unjust for me to usurp his leadership, as a respected elder statesman he has the necessary experience and will to lead us to independence,” Mr Tanis added.

“With Bougainville’s Referendum to be held within the term of the third and final Bougainville House of Representatives, as stipulated in the PNG Constitution, Bougainvilleans must know the type of leader they want to lead them and President Momis is that leader,” Tanis said.

In attendance at the rally were ABG President, Grand Chief Dr John Momis, Mekamui Government of Unity President, Philip Miriori, former Clerk of the National Parliament and Chief Ombudsman Simon Pentanu and various ABG Members from Central and South Bougainville.

 

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Bougainville Mining News: BCL chairman addresses AGM (Download full transcript)

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“Let me assure you that the vision to return to active exploration and profitable, sustainable mining remains, with the active support of many local stakeholders.

The Board and Management of Bougainville Copper Ltd are well positioned to recognise the opportunities inherent in recent challenges, and to maintain progress in a new year.

I believe the economic self-sufficiency of Bougainville needs the successful development of Panguna “

The following is a transcript of the address given by BCL Chairman Peter Taylor to the Annual General Meeting in Port Moresby on Wednesday 29 April 2015. A PDF of the transcript can be downloaded here.

The Annual General Meeting gives me an opportunity, as chairman, to make a statement concerning the up-to-date affairs of the company. Copies of this statement will be distributed as you leave today, and with your permission, I would now like to present it.

Mining Legislation

The most significant event to impact the company in 2014 was the passing of new mining legislation by the Autonomous Bougainville Government, which creates uncertainty regarding Bougainville Copper’s rights to mining and exploration licences. The Bougainville Mining Act 2015 was passed on April 1, substantially mirrors the clauses of the Interim Mining Act, which has reclassed the existing Special Mining Lease as an Exploration Licence. There remains uncertainty over the seven (7) leases for mining purposes.

The Company made applications for new licenses and to affirm rights which appear to have been impacted by the interim ABG mining legislation. These applications have been declined. The final Bougainville Mining Act 2015 prevents the Mining Registrar from accepting or registering applications for tenements before October 1, 2015.

The company is taking some comfort from correspondence and continued dialogue with the ABG and President Momis where he acknowledges that the company is a holder of a Special Mining Lease prior to the Act coming into force. The Act substitutes the Special Mining Lease (SML) with an Exploration Licence. The Company will seek formal granting of the exploration licence and exclusive access to the SML area.

Given the potential impact of the new legislation, the Board has decided to take a full impairment of the value of the mine assets, and to restrict the flow of funds into some of BCL’s work programs. The impairment dramatically decreased the value of the company fixed assets and has resulted in a corresponding impairment expense in the Statement of Comprehensive Income. I will discuss the impact of the impairment shortly when I summarise the 2014 results.

Company representatives continue to engage with the National Government and the Autonomous Bougainville Government seeking clarification of the company’s rights, and at the same time to explore legal options, as well as taking steps to protect BCL’s priority position should re-commencement of mining at Panguna be viable and approved.

The company’s major shareholder Rio Tinto announced in August 2014 “in light of recent developments in Papua New Guinea, including the new mining legislation passed earlier this month by the Autonomous Bougainville Government, Rio Tinto has decided now is an appropriate time to review all options for its 53.83 per cent stake in Bougainville Copper Ltd”

The review is ongoing.

President John Momis has emphasised that the new mining legislation was needed to address unregulated mining activity on Bougainville, and was not aimed at discouraging BCL. President Momis has supported redevelopment of the Panguna mine, subject to community support.

Given the uncertainty the company has minimised its Bougainville work programs.

Financial Results

The results for the year ended December 31, 2014 as reported in the Annual Report, record an operating loss of K9.1 million and an impairment charge of K166.6 million which equates to an overall loss of K175.7 million. This compares with the profit of K6.8 million in the previous year. The impairment charge reflects the diminishing rights of the company to the mine assets and resources with the directors acting prudently in impairing the mining assets completely. We continue to seek advice regarding all our options.

The value of the mining assets in 2013 was K197.9 million and after the asset revaluation reserve of K31.3 was reversed the net impact of the impairment recorded in the statement of comprehensive income was 166.6 million.

Revenue from Interest and Dividends (K4.9m) was slightly lower than budget (K5.1m).

Operational expenditure overall (K14.1m) was lower than budget (K15.9), reflecting the scaling back of work programs.

The company will not pay a dividend.

The company has sufficient funds to cover its recurrent expenditure under the current three year plan and is debt free.

Taxation

I am pleased to report to the shareholders that the company has negotiated a settlement with the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) in PNG. A scheduled second mediation occurred on 2nd April 2015. I am able to report the court has confirmed the company will receive back K39.7 million from the funds held on term deposit with the Registrar of the High Court. This concludes this long outstanding matter.

There was a total of K70.6 million reported in the 2014 Financial Statements as receivable. The IRC was paid K13.0 million in addition to K4.4 million of interest withholding tax. K14.0 million was agreed to be paid to the IRC in settlement from the K53.2 million, held on IBD for the national court, which leaves the Company with around K40 million.

Financial Assets and Investment strategy

At the end of 2014 Bougainville Copper’s liquid assets were K4.7 million in cash and K102 million in Australian equities. The company’ financial position is linked to the performance of the Australian equities market, which is in a positive phase.

In 2014 Bougainville Copper’s Australian Equities Portfolio, performed broadly in line with the Australian Stock Market.

It is intended to continue with the current investment strategy, for as long as the investment committee deems this to be the best option, or until such time as equities need to be sold to fund further work programs.

The company’s cash position is enhanced as a result of the conclusion of the taxation dispute.

Governance

Bougainville Copper has governance reporting obligations to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). A statement on the company’s compliance with the ASX Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations is contained within the annual report. In addition, the company has adopted policies that seek to comply with Rio Tinto’s comprehensive range of policies including safety, environment, financial management and other governance practices. The company has chosen to early adopt the latest edition of the ASX principles, for the 2014 Financial Statements, one year before the mandatory adoption date.

Safety and Risk Management

Bougainville Copper is particularly safety conscious and has in place a comprehensive set of safety standards to ensure that it provides a safe working environment and that its employees and contractors comply with best practice safety procedures. The company complies with the requirements of the Rio Tinto safety policy.

The management of Bougainville Copper undertakes regular risk reviews.

Bougainville Copper Foundation

Bougainville Copper has continued to support the work of the Bougainville Copper Foundation. This is an independent, not-for-profit company that has been funded by Bougainville Copper since its inception.

In 2014, as in previous years, the Foundation had more than 100 Bougainville students on scholarships. Many are continuing to be supported in 2015.

The Foundation also undertakes special project on a needs basis with the emphasis placed on education, peace and good governance.

The Foundation is proud of its achievements and those of its former scholars who are contributing to the development of Bougainville.

The Foundation continues to review its objectives and future direction. As mentioned, the Foundation is an independent body, and it is hoped that its range of activities will not be materially reduced by the factors that are now constraining some of BCL’s social and work programs.

I will now report on some other current events which have a bearing on the company’s prospects and its progress towards the vision of reopening the mine.

Work Programs

In view of recent actions of the Bougainville legislature, funding to progress all studies and welfare programs will be limited until uncertainties of tenure and the legislative regime are clarified.

During the period, limited work continued to refine the 2013 Order of Magnitude Study, which is an exercise aimed at giving the company guidance as to the most appropriate and cost effective way to re-develop the Panguna resource. It is one of the Board’s major tools in evaluating options going forward.

The Order of Magnitude Study is based on many assumptions including commodity prices, market demand, investor risk, opportunity costs, security of tenure and others. In brief it describes a new mine at Panguna processing between 60 million and 90 million tonnes of ore per annum, over a mine life of 24 years, with an estimated capital cost of 5.2 billion US dollars, as estimated in 2013.Further, more detailed studies, such as a pre-feasibility study and a feasibility study are required to confidently determine the potential economic viability of re-opening the mine. Only upon completion of those studies will the Board be sufficiently informed to take a decision whether or not to proceed with financing and commencement of construction.

The time-line to first production could be between five and seven years from the date of approval and financing.

Many of the assumptions, including the size of the resource, the life of the mine, and the start-up cost, may vary significantly when the company gains access to the former mine site and undertakes further work.

Several other studies were initiated by the company, in conjunction with the Bougainville Administration, aimed at providing a clearer picture of the environmental conditions, the needs of the population, training and employment readiness, as well as land ownership and social mapping. However the company is not in a position to commit to funding these studies until tenure is assured.

Bel Kol

Representatives of the customary landowners from the mine lease areas have requested that Bougainville Copper perform a cultural ceremony with them, Bel Kol.

The ceremony is aimed at restoring relationships between Bougainville Copper, landowners, the Autonomous Bougainville Government, ex-combatants and community leaders.

Significant progress was made towards Bel Kol by the end of 2014. A senior Bougainville Copper manager began regular travel and participated in discussions in Central Bougainville.

Bel Kol is now postponed until after the Bougainville elections. As a gesture of goodwill, the company will make commitments to support programs focused towards health and education initiatives.

The company has asked for open access to Panguna and the area covered by the original Special Mining Lease, assurances of safety, and an invitation to establish a presence in Arawa, as a base for field work, baseline studies and social mapping previously mentioned, and for the recruitment of local people to participate in drilling and other evaluation and de-risking programs

A training program has been jointly designed, to be supported by the company, to prepare members of the lost generation for work opportunities.

Joint Panguna Negotiations

The Joint Panguna Negotiation Coordination Committee (JPNCC) consisting of National Government and ABG representatives, together with landowner and company delegates, was active in 2014 in defining several baseline studies and preparing to implement them.

The JPNCC has established a Multi Trust Fund, to manage joint monies including aid, and to conduct the process of tendering and awarding the baseline studies, in order to vest the findings of studies with arms-length transparency, and credibility with all parties. The Trust Fund formally came into effect in November 2014.

Senior PNG statesman Sir Peter Barter accepted chairmanship of the Multi Trust Fund, and as a respected Bougainville peace-maker, reminded the people of his long held view that there can be no meaningful autonomy without a viable economy.

Throughout the year, company management maintained its own fruitful dialogue with a wide range of Bougainvillean interest groups, through regular meetings at Buka, Arawa and Kieta, with landowners, ex-combatants, women’s groups, ABG agencies, aid donors and other stakeholders.

Events on Bougainville

There have been a number of developments in Bougainville, including Prime Minister Peter O’Neill who visited Bougainville and Panguna in January 2014, and visited again in December 2014 to re-open the Aropa airport.

Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop visited the region.

Preparations for elections to the Parliament of the Autonomous Bougainville Region are gathering pace, polling scheduled for May 2015, with results known during June.

President John Momis is one of nine candidates seeking election.

There has been a re-structure of the Bougainville Public Service administration.

The relationship between President Momis, his government, and the Board and management of Bougainville Copper remains cordial.

The regulatory regime and the company’s position

The practical effect of the permanent mining legislation requires further clarification so that the long term mining regime for Bougainville is settled, allowing the company to factor these terms into its assessment of the viability of the potential mine redevelopment.

The next phase of study, a pre-feasibility study on reopening the mine, will be very expensive, and requires certainty of a workable mining regime and conditions prior to committing the study funds.

I wish to restate that even if further studies confirm that recommencement of mining is economically attractive, mining at Panguna cannot recommence unless all parties: the Landowners, the Autonomous Bougainville Government, the National Government of PNG, and BCL, are acting in close accord, now and into the future.

Funding and sovereign risk assurance for the project will require a united effort. Investors also need a fair and stable regulatory regime that gives them the confidence to commit to a project that will require billions of dollars of investment.

Conclusion

Let me assure you that the vision to return to active exploration and profitable, sustainable mining remains, with the active support of many local stakeholders.

The Board and Management of Bougainville Copper Ltd are well positioned to recognise the opportunities inherent in recent challenges, and to maintain progress in a new year.

I believe the economic self-sufficiency of Bougainville needs the successful development of Panguna.

The company faces the coming year with resolve and determination.

For your further information, I remind you that reports and commentaries of the company’s activities are regularly reported to the Australian Securities Exchange and associated media, and can also be accessed on our website.

Bougainville Mining News: Rumbles from the jungle as Bougainville mine stirs

panguna

 

The big questions hanging over the mine right now include: who will run the Autonomous Bougainville Government after the election due at the end of May? Nine figures are contending the presidency, including several former combatants, with the front runners probably former Catholic priest John Momis, the veteran incumbent, and Sam Akoitai, a former national mining minister.

The next government will have the responsibility of setting the parameters for the referendum on independence that must happen at some time during the five years from this July.

The Panguna mine on Bougainville Island would cost $6.5bn to restart.

Source: The Australian Rowan Callick News Limited

Even the long-suffering Bougainville Copper board, which has witnessed cargo cults, wars, and the closure of its own vast mine, was puzzled when its share price soared 50 per cent a week ago.

For this sudden surge of confidence appeared, oddly, to have been triggered by troubling news for the company — the commencement of a new Mining Act passed by the Bougainville autonomous region’s parliament, which hands back control of all resources to landowners.

The future of the Bougainville mine, which still contains copper and gold worth about $50 billion, is tied up with its complex past, with the long geopolitical shadow cast by the 1989-2001 civil war on the island — and with cargo-­cultist hopes held out by local leaders allied to eccentric foreigners constantly seeking to seize control of the resources from BCL.

The ASX issued a “speeding ticket”, asking the company to explain the April 2 share price leap. BCL replied that it couldn’t.

The price had slid back down to 28c by Friday.

The directors of the company, which is 53.58 per cent owned by Rio Tinto, 19.06 per cent by the Papua New Guinea government, and 27.36 per cent by other shareholders, are trying to juggle an enormous range of unknowns and variables, without even the compensating benefits of having a mine to run.

It has remained closed since May 1989, and would cost upwards of $6.5bn to reopen.

The big questions hanging over the mine right now include: who will run the Autonomous Bougainville Government after the election due at the end of May? Nine figures are contending the presidency, including several former combatants, with the front runners probably former Catholic priest John Momis, the veteran incumbent, and Sam Akoitai, a former national mining minister.

The next government will have the responsibility of setting the parameters for the referendum on independence that must happen at some time during the five years from this July.

What will be the response of the national government led by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to the new Bougainville mining law? National legislation insists that, as in Australia, such resources are owned by the state.

And Mr O’Neill has hired Peter Graham, who led the remarkably successful construction of the country’s first liquefied natural gas project for ExxonMobil, to manage the Ok Tedi mine, which the Port Moresby government nationalised — and may be eager to deploy his skills to reopening Bougainville too, if Rio chooses to sell to PNG.

What does Rio itself want? At the end of 2014, it announced from London that it was reviewing its BCL stake.

It has not entirely lost its stomach for complex, ever-changing negotiations in developing countries with governments lacking the disciplines of party politics — managing director Sam Walsh only recently flew to Mongolia for talks about the constantly challenging Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine there.

But it could follow BHP-­Billiton, after its Ok Tedi debacle, in placing PNG in the ultimately-too-hard basket.

The key question is what do the landowners want? If they don’t want a mine back, it won’t happen.

Many do favour a reopening, since they see no alternative source of income for their families on the horizon — the agricultural potential for Bougainville is all on the coast, rather than in the mountains.

But they are themselves split into about nine recognisable factions — whereas at the time the mine was set up, during Australian colonial days, they spoke as a unified group.

The legislation does not specifically mention the BCL mine, because it is intended to cover the whole of the highly prospective region, which has since the onset of the civil war attracted growing numbers of carpetbaggers seeking to set up their own private operations — almost always seeking gold — in collaboration with ex-combatants who often retain guns.

Formerly, BCL was granted the only mining licence in Bougainville, which it still holds — but from the PNG government — while the Bougainville government now says its legislation supersedes the national legislation, under the accord agreed at the peace conference that ended the conflict.

The company is not only governed by legislation, but operated the mine under a contract with the PNG government that remains in force.

Peter Taylor, who has been chairman of BCL for 12 years, said that “the Bougainville government seems to want the mine reopened, but we have to sit down around a table and see what’s do­able.”

He said he remained confident that “if there’s a will there to get the mine reopened, we will find a way. But we’re talking a long lead time.’

When the first study about reopening was conducted, the copper and gold prices were lower than today — but that’s not the key issue: “We’re a mining business, not a trading business,” he said.

“It will happen only if the government and the landowners want it to happen.”

President John Momis, who has driven Bougainville’s new Mining Act, said that with it, “we are completely rejecting the terrible past. The Act recognises that all owners of customary land own all minerals in, on and under their land.” And now those who joined the civil war on the side of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army based around the mine site at Panguna, are also entitled, under custom, to share in any proceeds from that land.

Bougainville President Press Release: Jubilee Australia demonstrates ‘shameful ignorance and arrogance

Grand Chief Momis addresses Excoms

“Your assumptions, and an apparent bias, were reflected in your choice of research partners with well-known records of vehement anti-BCL views. The PNG researchers chosen to do the interviews are also people well-known in Bougainville as holding similar views.

“My Government is on the ground in Bougainville. Elected members and government officers have for many years constantly consulted landowner communities from the former Panguna leases, with the organisations established since 2010 to represent those communities, with leaders of the various Me’ekamui organisations in the area, with Councils of Elders and Village Assemblies in the area. While there is undoubtedly a range of views on the future of mining at Panguna, the only way of getting 63 interviewees opposed to mining

The President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) today released a statement about the refusal of Australian NGO, Jubilee, to respond to three letters he has sent them since October raising questions about a Jubilee report on Panguna landowner views on mining. He said their refusal to answer his questions demonstrated ‘shameful ignorance and arrogance on the part of Jubilee.

In a series of letters to the Jubilee in October, November and December 2014, President Momis questioned research methodology used, false claims made on the basis of interviews with a tiny selected group of opponents of mining, many serious factual errors in the report, and the track record of opposition to BCL and Rio Tinto on the part of Jubilee Australia’s research partners, Kristian Lasslett and the Bismarck Ramu Group.

DOWNLOAD LETTER HERE Momis – to Jubilee Board – 26 March 2015

In a letter to the Jubilee Board released with today’s statement, the President said:

“You proudly proclaim to be a scientific research organisation. But your research on Bougainville has been unethical and deeply flawed.

He went on to say that the Jubilee Report “was clearly based on false assumptions, and those same assumptions have been evident in claims made both at many points in your report, and in statements by your CEO, that there is near unanimous opposition to mining in the landowner communities in the former leases associated with the Panguna mine.

“Your assumptions, and an apparent bias, were reflected in your choice of research partners with well-known records of vehement anti-BCL views. The PNG researchers chosen to do the interviews are also people well-known in Bougainville as holding similar views.

My Government is on the ground in Bougainville. Elected members and government officers have for many years constantly consulted landowner communities from the former Panguna leases, with the organisations established since 2010 to represent those communities, with leaders of the various Me’ekamui organisations in the area, with Councils of Elders and Village Assemblies in the area. While there is undoubtedly a range of views on the future of mining at Panguna, the only way of getting 63 interviewees opposed to mining would be to carefully select them. If your report stated clearly that that was what you had done, there would be little complaint. But the report does not do that. It dissembles.

“Moreover, you compound your error by numerous absolutely false statements about the views expressed in the interviews being representative of all in the area.

“In short, there is no doubt at all that those doing the interviews in Bougainville on which the report claims to be based carefully chose a small group of opponents to the resumption of mining.

“The report was written by a person from one of your partner organisations with a clear record of a particularly unbalanced view on BCL.

“Your assumptions and bias were further demonstrated by your deliberate refusal not only to consult the ABG, but also to give it any opportunity to comment on a draft of the report before rushing to publish.

“You have also refused to respond to my questions about the ethical standards of the research, and your adherence to PNG law in the conduct of the report.

“By your refusal to answer the issues and questions raised in my three letters (above), you simply raise more doubts about your standards, your accountability and your bona fides.

“In all the circumstances, your behaviour is shameful, and your claims to be a scientific research organisation seem little more than a joke.

“I continue to request a response to the specific issues raised in those three letters.”

,

Chief John L. Momis

President, ARoB

 

Momis Speech : Bougainville’s preparation for a referendum on our future political status

Challenges of Implementing the Bougainville Peace Agreement / Jo

“There is considerable international community interest in the preparations necessary for the referendum. In particular, the United Nations was requested last year to undertake a scoping visit to assess what its roles might be in supporting both the 2015 elections, and the referendum. The UN scoping team visited Port Moresby and Bougainville in February, and has recently provided a report to both governments, highlighting important issues about the work required, and proposing important roles that the UN can play in preparations for and conduct of the referendum.

I know all Bougainvilleans will support and welcome the close involvement of the UN as we continue to implement the Peace Agreement provisions on the referendum”

HON. CHIEF JOHN MOMIS PRESIDENT

AUTONOMOUS REGION OF BOUGAINVILLE  HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 STATEMENT TO THE HOUSE THURSDAY 26 MARCH 2015

 PREPARATIONS FOR THE REFERENDUM  ON BOUGAINVILLE’S FUTURE POLITICAL STATUS

Mr. Speaker:

I rise to make a brief statement about a matter of the greatest importance to Bougainville.

As we all know, the Bougainville Peace Agreement, which was given effect by amendments to the National Constitution, and the making of the Bougainville Constitution, guarantees that Bougainvilleans can vote in a referendum on the future political status of Bougainville. That referendum must include the “choice of a separate independence for Bougainville”.

This is a momentous choice. Very few people’s anywhere in the world have the opportunity for a referendum on their self-determination. The Peace Agreement has been a remarkable achievement for all Bougainvilleans.

The referendum must be held between mid-2015 and mid-2020. In other words, it must be held sometime during the term of the next ABG House.

I am making this short statement mainly to inform this House, and through you, the members of the House, about progress made under this, the second ABG House, in making the necessary preparations for the referendum.

The referendum is the third of the three pillars of the Bougainville Peace Agreement to be implemented. Considerable progress has been made on implementation of the other two pillars. As we all know, those two pillars are weapons disposal and autonomy.

With weapons disposal, the UN mission in Bougainville supervised the weapons disposal process, from 2001 to 2005. Until mid-2003 the UN was assisted by the PMG. Almost 2,000 weapons were handed in by former combatants.

With autonomy, there has also been considerable progress. We have together made the Bougainville Constitution, established our own institutions of Government, held elections for two ABG Houses (one from 2005 to 2010, and one from 2010 to 2015). Transfer of powers to the ABG started slowly, with the first requests for transfer made by President Kabui in 2006. During this, the second House, the progress with transfer has speeded up. We have taken over many new powers, and made new Bougainville policies and laws on a number of important subjects. From 2014, they have included establishing a separate Bougainville Public Service, a separate Bougainville public finance management system, and our own mining laws.

Though we have taken great strides with both weapons disposal and autonomy, there is still work to be done to maintain and keep building both pillars. And much of that remaining work on those pillars is closely related to the third pillar – the referendum on independence. I will come back to those issues, and clarify the relationship of weapons and autonomy to the referendum, at the end of this statement.

Mr. Speaker:

The Bougainville Peace Agreement was negotiated between June 1999 and August 2001. Although all aspects of the referendum that we could properly deal with then were covered in the Agreement, some significant issues could not be resolved at that time. They were deliberately left till later consultation and negotiations between the two governments.

I will outline some of the most important of those issues still to be decided. But before doing so, I must emphasise that it was because there are so many referendum issues to be dealt with, that more than three years ago, my Government took up the issue of referendum preparations in the JSB. As a result, a Joint Referendum Working Group was established. It has been working ever since, and it reports regularly to the JSB.

The ongoing work of that Joint Referendum Working Group has already assisted the JSB to make a decision, in 2014, on one of the most important issued that was deferred by the Peace Agreement. That was the issue of the agency, or body, that will conduct the referendum. The Peace Agreement and the National Constitution provided several options. Last year, the ABG and the National Government agreed that the referendum should be conducted by a completely independent institution, operating under a Charter that must be agreed between the two governments.

Perhaps the most critical issue that was deferred by the Peace Agreement was the decision on when the referendum will be held – the date of the referendum. It was agreed, however, that it could be no earlier than 10 years after the ABG was established, and no later than 15 years. It was also agreed that the date within that 5 year window would be agreed between the ABG and the National Government.

In consulting about the date, the two governments are required to take account of:

“whether:

  1. weapons have been disposed of in accordance with the Agreement; and
  2. … it has been determined that the Bougainville Government has been and is being conducted in accordance with internationally accepted standards of good governance.”

It is very clear from the wording of the Agreement and of the National Constitution that these matters are to be considered only for the purposes of setting the date within the five year period ending mid-2020. Issues about weapons and good governance cannot in any way be used to delay the referendum beyond mid-2020.

Because the decision on the date was deferred, that is going to be one of the most important matters that the third ABG will need to consult about and agree with the National Government. I have already begun the discussions on the issue with Prime Minister O’Neill, suggesting that 2019 should be considered. But as yet there has not been a decision on the issue.

Many other aspects of the referendum arrangements must also be agreed between the two governments. Perhaps the three most important aspects that will need to be resolved are:

  • The wording of the question, or the questions, that will be asked in the referendum – but I emphasise that whatever is decided, the Peace Agreement and the Constitution are clear that the “choice of separate independence for Bougainville” must be included.
  • The Charter for the agreed independent agency (which will spell out the duties and responsibilities of the agency, for those have not yet been defined); and
  • The qualifications for enrolment to vote in the referendum for Bougainvilleans not resident in Bougainville.

The most important issue of all has also been deferred, till after the referendum. That is the decision on implementation of the decision of the referendum. Under the Peace Agreement, the two governments are also required to consult about that. But the compromise on the referendum made in 2001 was that power to make the final decision on implementation rests with the National Parliament.

Mr. Speaker,

Clearly, there are many significant issues about:

  • the preparations for,
  • conduct of, and
  • implementation of,

the referendum that will have to be negotiated.

In addition, because neither the National Government nor the ABG has any experience of the conduct of referendums, there are many aspects of practical arrangements for the conduct of the referendum that will have to be decided jointly.

The two governments agreed last year on obtaining a report from an administration expert on the streams of work that will be needed to prepare for decisions on the major issues I’ve mentioned, as well as on more general administrative preparations for the referendum. The report was prepared in October, in close consultation with the two governments. It identified seven major work streams. In summary they are:

  1. Close consultation with the people of Bougainville and PNG, and the two governments, so that they can participate in decision making about the referendum;
  2. Weapons disposal assessment (important in terms of setting the referendum date, as well as for other reasons I will mention later in this statement);
  3. Determining the criteria for enrolling non-resident Bougainvilleans on the voters roll for the referendum;
  4. Good governance assessment (also important for setting the date, as well as for other reasons);
  5. Determining the referendum question or questions;
  6. Establishing the independent agency to conduct the referendum, and providing the funding needed to conduct the referendum;
  7. Review of the constitutional provisions for the conduct of the referendum.

The report recommended setting up a joint secretariat of the two governments to oversee the implementation of those seven work-streams. No decision has yet been made on that issue.

At the recent meeting of the JSB in Arawa on 13 March, the two governments noted the report, and agreed to meet to decide on the issues of the date of the referendum, and the charter for the independent agency to conduct the referendum, as well as other milestones for the conduct of the referendum.

My Government has also moved to establish our own structures to oversee preparations for the referendum. In 2014, we established an ABG Ministeral committee to provide oversight, direction and monitoring of referendum preparations. It will need to liaise closely with the counterpart committee established by the National Parliament.

Then in January 2015 the BEC approved the establishing of the ABG Office Bougainville Referendum  to oversee referendum preparations on behalf of the ABG. Its mandate is to:

  • Coordinate and implement ABG policy on the referendum;
  • Liaise with the National Government and development partners on referendum preparations;
  • Coordinate awareness-raising and communications for the referendum, and provide support to referendum sub-committees as may be established;
  • Develop and manage on behalf of the President and BEC, a work plan for the referendum arrangements;
  • Identify resource needs and report to BEC.

It is now vital that this new Office receives the support, especially resources and staff, necessary to carry out its import work. In the very near future, it must begin work on:

  • Consulting Bougainvilleans on options for the question or questions to be asked in the referendum, inclusive of independence;
  • Defining options on the links non-resident persons will need to be regarded as Bougainvilleans for the purposes of enrolment for voting in the referendum;
  • Reviewing the Rules for the Conduct of the Referendum agreed in 2001 and incorporated into the Organic Law on Peace-building in Bougainville, and in doing so taking account of experience in the conduct of the three ABG general elections (2005, 2010 and 2015) and the 2008 Presidential by-election;
  • Developing and implementing a general awareness campaign for Bougainvilleans on the process of, preparations for and issues in the referendum

Mr. Speaker:

There is considerable international community interest in the preparations necessary for the referendum. In particular, the United Nations was requested last year to undertake a scoping visit to assess what its roles might be in supporting both the 2015 elections, and the referendum. The UN scoping team visited Port Moresby and Bougainville in February, and has recently provided a report to both governments, highlighting important issues about the work required, and proposing important roles that the UN can play in preparations for and conduct of the referendum.

Mr. Speaker:

I know all Bougainvilleans will support and welcome the close involvement of the UN as we continue to implement the Peace Agreement provisions on the referendum.

So, Mr. Speaker:

While there is much to be done, important steps have been made. Much more will need to be done by the ABG after the election. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that negotiations about referendum preparations will be one of the most important responsibilities of the third ABG, taking office in June 2015.

Mr. Speaker,

Those responsibilities will include making strenuous efforts to continue achieving progress in relation to both weapons disposal and good governance. Progress on those matters is important in at least four distinct but also closely connected ways.

First, they are important in setting the date for the referendum, between 2015 and 2020. Disagreement between the governments on our weapons disposal status or good governance could push the date back towards mid-2020. But of course, such disagreement cannot delay the referendum after mid-2020.

Second, weapons and good governance will be very important in determining whether the referendum is “free and fair”. Under the Peace Agreement, we have all committed to a free and fair process. There is provision for international observers to be involved. If weapons are available and in use, and if the ABG does not provide good governance, for example in the form of law and order, there are serious risks that observers will decide the referendum is not free and fair.

Third, when the National Parliament comes to make its decision on implementation of the referendum outcome, it can decide what issues it takes into account in making its decision. If there are serious weapons disposal and good governance issues, they will be free to argue that it will not be safe for the people of Bougainville if independence is considered.

Fourth, and finally, the international community will be watching closely. When Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, persuaded the Bougainville leaders in late 2000 to make a compromise on their position that the referendum vote be binding on the National Government, he indicated that the international community would support implementation of a free and fair referendum with a clear outcome. The truth is that we may need to rely on international community support at that time. So we Bougainvilleans need to make sure issues about weapons and good governance result in loss of international community support.

Mr. Speaker:

There is clearly still much to be done to prepare for the referendum. But an important start on make preparations for this momentous decision-making process has been made in the five years this House has been in office.

All of us here look forward to seeing the steps being made by the new, 3rd House, President, and BEC, taking office in June, as they take the major next steps towards the conduct of the referendum.

I thank all those who have contributed to the progress we have made so far.

The referendum will involve the single most important joint and democratic decision ever made by Bougainvilleans.

I call on all members of this House and all Bougainvilleans, whether resident in Bougainville or living elsewhere, to work together to ensure that the referendum is a complete success, and provides a secure foundation for the future of Bougainville.

 

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bougainville Autonomy Arrangements Joint Review : Download the 116 page report here

Review

 

The attached 116 page review contains a significant level of background material. The Review will be read by people who may not have access to essential information about Bougainville. We hope that this information will contribute to greater understanding of the broader context for the Joint Resolutions

It is now a public document having been tabled in the ABG House in March 2014 and the National Parliament in February 2015.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Joint Review of Autonomy Arrangements (JSB and RC approved Joint Resolutions)

This is a joint review by both governments of Bougainville’s autonomy arrangements as required under the constitutional laws. The review was due in 2010 and was not initiated until 2013.

This report, the Review, is the joint report of both governments. It is informed by six separate reports prepared by independent experts appointed by both governments. Their reports are contained in a supplementary volume. The views expressed in those reports are the views and opinions of those experts and they do not necessarily represent the views of either or both governments.

Both governments have decided to be forward looking and practical in accepting this joint report. Establishing Bougainville’s autonomy is a new journey for all parties to the Bougainville Peace Agreement. It was to be expected that there would be blockages, stumbles and some disagreements. Nonetheless, considerable progress has been made since the signing of the Peace Agreement.

The Review sets us on a joint path to remedy some of the major weaknesses while at the same time preparing for the Referendum which is due in the period May 2015 to May 2020.

The Review contains Joint Resolutions – actions by both governments at the JSB held at Kokopo on 18 October 2013 and refined at the Referendum Committee 26 October 2013. The governments will agree an implementation plan against which we will monitor progress and report to the JSB, and the respective parliaments.

The Review contains a significant level of background material. The Review will be read by people who may not have access to essential information about Bougainville. We hope that this information will contribute to greater understanding of the broader context for the Joint Resolutions.

As required by the constitutional laws the Review will be tabled in both parliaments through the National Executive Council and the Bougainville Executive Council respectively.

Below are the first few pages FYI

The Referendum Committee directed that these Joint Resolution be referred immediately to the respective Cabinets for endorsement and tabling in the respective Parliaments with the Joint Review and the Reports of the Independent experts as provided under Section 337 of the Papua New Guinea Constitution.

Planning for 2015 Autonomy Review

1.1 Joint planning for the next review of the autonomy arrangements will commence in late 2014 with the review to be conducted in the first quarter of 2015.

Review of Bougainville Constitution

2.1 The Bougainville Constitution will be reviewed by the ABG in 2014.

2.2 The recommendations from the constitutional review will be made available to the independent experts who conduct the analysis that contributes to the 2015 joint review by the National Government and ABG of Bougainville’s autonomy arrangements.

Greater awareness of Bougainville’s vision and autonomy

3.1 The ABG needs to articulate in a brief accessible document the kind of society Bougainville desires to be in the long term (not just political independence) and formulate a long term higher level strategic vision and plan for realizing the espoused vision based around the aspirations of the Bougainville Peace Agreement and the people. All other planning and service delivery functions should take their cues and direction from the strategic vision.

3.2 The Bougainville Awareness Framework will be the basis for a comprehensive (region-wide, multimedia and direct face-to-face dialogue) awareness campaign be undertaken to inform the people and leaders of the strategic vision, the meaning of autonomy, how it is being implemented and its benefits, and the context and process for the impending referendum.

3.3 The ABG will take responsibility, with the National Government, for initiating a regular series of briefings with local and key national political and public service leaders to seek to significantly increase their awareness and understanding of Bougainville’s vision and entitlements.

Draw down of functions and powers to be consolidated

4.1 The governments will:

  1. jointly review the current Framework for the Draw Down of Functions and Powers;
  2. jointly take stock of and review the progress of the draw-down of functions and powers by all sectors operating in Bougainville. In 2014 the focus will be on completing and consolidating the transfer of the functions listed in Table 2 of the Joint Review;
  3. provide guidance to ensure that all future requests for the draw down of powers and functions, commencing with environment and health, comply with Sections 3 and 4 of the Organic Law and where applicable Section 43 of the Bougainville Constitution.

4.2 The drawdown of powers and functions process will be coordinated by the Chief Secretary and Chief Administrator respectively to expedite the evolutionary and smooth drawdown of functions and powers through the preparation of legislation for consideration by the Bougainville House of Representatives.

4.3 Greater attention will be given to calculating, negotiating and agreeing the on-going funding arrangements for each function and power to be drawn down by the ABG according to the provisions of the Organic Law.

4.4 The governments will work together to seek additional expert resources (including from development partners) to strengthen the ABG to manage the orderly draw down of powers and functions, and their subsequent implementation, particularly to contribute to analysis and policy development in legal, staffing, planning, financial and organisational aspects.

Social and Economic Development

5.1 Law and order – that priority be given to strengthening law and order (weapons, police and community justice) and resolving key existing conflicts that continue to hinder return to normalcy, peace and development in parts of Bougainville (e.g. Konnou and Siuwai crises).

5.2 Economy – a broad based and integrated economic strategy be designed and implemented that would include:

  1. high impact projects, down-stream processing of coca and copra and small to medium enterprises; and
  2. Support be extended to strengthening economic institutions for growth of private enterprise. A specific initiative in exploration of impact projects needs to be investigated with a view to creating much needed employment.

5.3 Infrastructure investments be coordinated through the Joint Project Management Unit such that all of the Region is connected via transportation and communications links in the shortest possible time.

5.4 Education and Health –ABG continue to expand the delivery of education and health services, especially to inland areas of North, Central and South Bougainville and at the same time orientate education and health service delivery to be in line with the strategic visioning above. Specific attention will be given to:

  1. Lost generation – that Education Division (in collaboration with relevant divisions such as Community Development, Veterans Affairs, development partners and NGOs) design and implement a specific education program targeting the lost generation.
  2. Certification and Accreditation of artisans – that ABG through a relevant division, design and implement a Trade Testing, Certification and Accreditation program for skilled village artisans in anticipation for the vocational employment when mining and other economic opportunities commence.
  3. Opportunities for the provision of vocational and technical education must be explored as a matter of urgency with reforms to entry requirements into vocational and technical schools to be started.

5.5 Strategy for Less Developed Areas – all three regions in Bougainville have pockets of isolated communities facing severe under-development. Examples include Visai in the Buin district, Rataiku in Siuwai district; Marau in Bana; Torokina; Kunua; Rotokas; and West Coast of Buka. The ABG will formulate a strategy for progressively linking and opening up these areas to social and economic development.

5.6 The governments will contribute to the immediate expansion of the reach of radio throughout the Region by ensuring current projects are implemented expeditiously.

Grants

4.5 The governments agree to discuss and negotiate a solution to the payment of outstanding Restoration and Development Grant calculated according to law and to ensure that it is then properly calculated, appropriated and paid annually to the ABG in a timely manner.

4.6 The ABG will prepare detailed budget submissions for each new function and power delegated or transferred to the ABG detailing staffing and goods and services budgetary requirements for the first and subsequent three years of implementation in Bougainville of that function or power. These submissions will be endorsed by the BEC, and where required by the Bougainville Constitution, the House of Representatives.

Audit Functions in Bougainville

7.1 The ABG will establish an internal audit function within the Administration before 1 January 2015 to be funded under the Recurrent Grant arrangements.

7.2 The PNG Auditor General will establish an office in Buka before 31 March 2014 with ABG assistance for housing and office space.

ABG Budget

8.1 The ABG will, with National Government assistance, seek to develop and implement a four-year rolling program budget for development and recurrent expenditure with the intention of giving greater certainty to the planning, budgeting and financing of all government plans and service delivery activities. This will be closely linked to the estimates prepared under Joint Resolution 4.3 (Budgets for powers and functions to be drawn down.)

8.2 The ABG will seek to capture in PGAS greater detail on the geographical spend for all development activities.

8.3 The ABG will seek partner support to undertake detailed annual expenditure analysis to contribute to the development of future budgets and assist in the prioritisation of expenditure for service delivery and enhancing autonomy.

8.4 The ABG will work with all development partners to seek to have their contributions recorded in the ABG annual budget.

Medium term economic and fiscal analysis

9.1 The ABG will commission expert assistance to undertake economic and financial analysis on the cost of various options to implement the BEC’s vision for Bougainville taking into account various development scenarios over the next five to ten years.

Financial Reporting and Capacity Improvements

10.1 The ABG will significantly improve the level of reporting on financial matters and projects to the BEC, indivicual ministers, the Bougainville House of Representatives, the National Government, development partners and the community.

10.2 The ABG will develop and then implement a comprehensive capacity development strategy to build the competencies and capabilities of the new ABG Finance and Treasury Department from January 2014.

Taxation

11.1 The ABG will host a Taxation and Revenue Summit in early 2014 to educate the political leadership and the public service of both governments about the tax and revenue arrangements and issues available to Bougainville under the existing Organic Law. Its objective will be (a) to achieve a consensus on a broad strategy, and priorities, to secure improved efficiency and effectiveness in administering the taxation and other revenue entitlements and (b) to contribute to future revenue policy development being properly informed particularly when it seeks to improve the ABG’s ability to achieve the fiscal objectives of the Peace Agreement.

11.2 Based upon the outcome of the Revenue Summit ABG will review its Office of the Chief Bougainville Collector of Taxes to assess future staffing and capacity needs.

11.3 The ABG will activate arrangements to establish the audit function provided in the Organic Law to monitor the collection of revenues by the IRC.

11.4 The IRC will be provided with additional resources in Port Moresby, the regional office and in Buka to undertake its role including an increased awareness program across the region.

Public Administration

12.1 An immediate joint review be carried out on NCOBA to determine its continued relevance and its future roles and responsibilities. The ABG and the National Government should give serious consideration setting up the ABG to manage coordination with the National Government on its own with current NCOBA resources shared between an ABG representative office and the ministry.

12.2 The ABG with the assistance of the National Government will take immediate steps to put in place a weapons disposal plan and set a concrete time to implement weapons disposal prior to 2015. It then should move quickly to implement this plan.

12.3 The ABG take immediate steps to put in place a peace and reconciliation plan and that this plan be immediately implemented before 2015.

12.4 The new structure and operations of the Bougainville Public Service will strengthen and enhance reporting and accountability arrangements including enhancing the roles of ministers and the BEC in setting policy and monitoring the performance of the Administration.

12.5 The ABG will develop and implement a capacity building programme, based around the White Paper on Councils of Elders to resuscitate the capacity of Councils of Elders and Village Assemblies to ensure that they are operational and remain sustainable as the second tier of government in Bougainville.

Good governance

13.1 The governments note the expert’s view that when all the reports are read together and a number of indicators are looked at it is doubtful if it could be said that the ABG was achieving the required standard of good governance in public administration as at mid-2013.

13.2 The governments agree that for future joint reviews greater clarity is needed on the set of indicators (having reference to the constitutional definition) against which good governance is to be assessed taking into account the available sources of quality data.

13.3 In early 2014, with Department of Provincial and Local Government Affairs’ assistance, the ABG will complete a joint organisational assessment using an agreed set of Key Result Areas and indicators based upon the Provincial Performance Improvement Initiative, to be repeated in early 2015 to feed into the 2015 joint review of the autonomy arrangements. ABG and Department of Provincial and Local Government Affairs will seek to involve a representative from East New Britain Province (and/or Milne Bay Province) in the assessments given those provinces’ above average performance in service delivery.

13.4 The ABG will complete its 2014-2016 Corporate Plan by 31 March 2014.

Capacity Development

14.1 The governments agree that they will apply significant resources, with the support of development partners, to implement the BEC approved Capacity Development Strategy for the Autonomous Bougainville Government (November 2012).

House of Representatives and Principal Legal Officer

15.1 The governments will engage, when appropriate, in collaborative efforts to consider the issues of construction of a permanent Parliament building for the House. [This is dependent upon the ABG and its people determining the location of the seat of government.]

15.2 The ABG will undertake a review to assess the required level of resources for the House for the next five years, including recruitment of its necessary administrative support staff, build office capacity and fund resources necessary.

15.3 The ABG will expand programs for induction (after 2015 elections) and ongoing training of Members of the House of Representatives so they understand their roles and the parliamentary procedures and processes. [This should be alongside the AusAID funded mentoring of the House by the NSW Parliament.]

15.4 The ABG will immediately recruit the Bougainville Principal Legal Officer, the principal adviser to the BEC, through an open and transparent process and support the office with lawyers, support staff and resources.

Law and Justice

16.1 Recognising that improving law and order is the people’s highest priority, the governments agree that there is a need to develop and implement, as soon as possible, a clear implementation plan for the transfer of police and correction services functions and powers to the ABG based upon the specific constitutional provisions

16.2 As part of and under the recently launched police modernisation program, GoPNG will give special attention to infrastructure capacity development, funding of resources and police manpower in Bougainville to bring police service to at least pre-crisis level.

16.3 The Police Service, Correctional Service, the Courts and the other law and justice constitutional offices are an integral part of law enforcement, maintaining peace and order and for public security. Both governments will give attention to building the capacity of all aspects of the law and justice system in order to prepare the ABG to be able to enact its own laws to transfer of related powers and functions when appropriate and affordable.

16.4 Given the importance of establishing and maintaining law and order in Bougainville both governments will support the police and correctional services special working groups to analyse and develop appropriate short and medium term funding proposals for the police and correctional services in Bougainville based upon an optimal configuration of staff and facilities.

Mining

17.1 The governments will review the 15-step strategy and seek to implement it in full consultation with each other.

17.2 The governments will as a matter of urgency meet in the Joint Consultative Coordinating Committee on Panguna Negotiations and agree the budget and potential sources of support for a comprehensive program of consultation, analysis and information-sharing so that the ABG, the landowners and the National Government are fully prepared to advocate and negotiate among each other and with BCL the new terms and conditions for mining and exploration leases associated with Panguna Mine.

17.3 Both governments will continue to support building staff capacity of the ABG Mining Department and other departments in order for them to be fully prepared to administer, implement and monitor mining (including issuing, managing and monitoring of mining tenements) and other legislation associated with the possible re-opening Panguna Mine, other mining operations (if any).

17.4 The ABG will continue to consult the National Government through the Department of Mining Policy and the Mineral Resources Authority on the ABG’s proposed transitional law in accordance with the Alotau Agreement, prior to the House enacting the law. The ABG to continue wider consultation of all stakeholders in the ARB in formulating its mining legislation and the Panguna negotiations.

The Referendum

18.1 The governments will meet quarterly in the Referendum Committee, and then at the Joint Supervisory Board, to monitor and discuss the preparations for the Referendum.

18.2 The governments agree that the Referendum will be conducted by an independent agency established for that purpose under Section 58 of the Organic Law on Peace -Building in Bougainville-Autonomous Bougainville Government and Bougainville Referendum 2002.

18.3 The governments agree that by 31 March 2014 the work plan for establishing the arrangements to conduct the Referendum will be completed including specifics on the roles, responsibilities and resources needed for:

  1. the administrative arrangements including establishing the independent agency to conduct a free and fair Referendum in Bougainville;
  2. engaging with international partners to obtain support for the independent agency and the conduct of the Referendum;c. seeking secure sources of funding for the agency to conduct a free and fair Referendum;d. maintaining and supporting regular fora for officials (Referendum Committee) and political leaders;

    e. establishing a Bipartisan Parliamentary Committee of the National Parliament on Bougainville Affairs and a similar committee of the Bougainville House of Representatives so as to provide oversight, direction and monitoring of progress towards the Referendum;

    f. establishing a process of consultation with Bougainvilleans, and others, determine the link or links a person has to have to Bougainville, including those of non-residents, to vote in the Referendum [See Peace Agreement Article 315 and Organic Law Section 55];

    g. reviewing the legal and administrative Rules for the Conduct of the Referendum as contained in the First Schedule to the Organic Law taking into account issues and experiences arising from two Bougainville elections and any other relevant matter.

    h. establishing a process of consultation with Bougainvilleans and others, to seek agreement on the options to be voted on in the Referendum, including independence [PNG Constitution Section 338];

    i. developing and implementing a generalised awareness campaign within Bougainville on the process and arrangements for Referendum. [Awareness on the Referendum itself will be conducted impartially by the independent agency established to conduct the Referendum.]; and

    j. complying with the Bougainville Constitution’s general and specific provisions for consultation within the Region including with traditional leaders and others.

    Feedback to the People

    19.1 The government will support the independent experts to meet with the people of Bougainville through a series of public consultations to close the consultation loop through feedback and deliver the Joint Review to the communities. These sessions will include representatives of both governments.

    .

Bougainville Mining News: Does Bougainville mining law open doors to corporate predators

 renzie-and-zues-2

Picture: Renzie Duncan is a mining executive who has run companies like Zues Minerals

This week Papua New Guinea Mine Watch (PNGMW) published an article questioning the motives of Adam Smith International, the company contracted by the World Bank to draft Bougainville’s new mining law (available here). According to PNGMW Adam Smith International (ASI) works for big business interests, and has harmed indigenous communities across Africa and Asia.

PNGMW claimed ASI’s friends like Renzie Duncan in the corporate world were delighted by the new Mining law pointing to his recent post this week in the popular Bougainville Forum on Facebook ,where he expressed his delight at ASI’s handiwork.

At no stage does he declare his past or current involvement in Bougainville mining (see New Dawn article below)

renzie-duncan-mining-act

Renzie Duncan is a mining executive who has run companies like Zues Minerals, a miner which PNGMW understands has been used by the Chinese government to obtain access to mineral deposits in the Pacific region

renzie-and-zeus-1

 

Renzie Duncan activities on Bougainville came to light back in June 2014 in a NEW Dawn Report

 ME’EKAMUI’S MIRIORI CHALLENGED TO BE HONEST ABOUT MINING

President of Bougainville, Chief John L. Momis, has challenged “Me’ekamui Government’s” Philip Miriori to be honest about Bougainville mining issues. He was responding to a statement saying discussions about mining can happen only after the referendum on independence, and calling for Australian advisers to “go home”.

President Momis said:

“It’s amusing to see Mr Miriori say mining can happen only after the referendum. For it’s widely known in Bougainville just how deeply involved Miriori is already involved in mining. It was he who worked closely with the Americans involved in Tall J Foundation Ltd.

That company tried to do industrial mining of gold on the tailings on the Jaba River. But the people chased them away. Then a Chinese investor in Tall J. tried to get his lost money back by bringing in Chinese to gather and sell scrap metal from Panguna.

Then there is the Australian, Ian Renzie Duncan, at different times involved with Australian mining companies Zeus Resources and Transpacific Ventures.

It was he who wrote Mr Miriori’s speech delivered when Prime Minister O’Neill visited Panguna. It’s widely talked about in central Bougainville that Miriori is investing with Mr. Duncan, and that Duncan is taking alluvial gold supplied by Miriori.

“These are just a few of the mining interests that Mr. Miriori is involved in. It’s these and other mining interests that have take him off so regularly to meetings in Cairns, Brisbane, Perth, Singapore, and other business tourist destinations.

Everyone around Panguna knows one thing for sure: no other Me’ekamui President has done more foreign travel than Miriori!

“But with all his deep involvement in mining already, how can he talk about decisions on mining waiting until after the referendum? I challenge him to be honest about his long history of mining interests.

“I also challenge him to be equally honest about foreign advisers. He says Australian funded advisers are not welcome. But these advisers have all been requested by the ABG to help us fill in gaps and weaknesses in the Administration.

Although Australian funded, many are not Australian. They include Bougainvilleans.

Until recently our legislative drafting adviser was from Vanuatu. Our Policy Adviser was from Bermuda – all paid for By Australia.

“For the ABG, the two most important things about our advisers are these.

First, we only have them when we have a gap we cannot fill with a Bougainvillean.

Second, they must follow the directions of the Bougainville Government. I am absolutely confident that they do that. They do not control the ABG.

They are not here to make money for foreign companies. “I challenge Mr. Miriori to tell us about his foreign advisers, and what they are doing to make money for foreign interests. They included two Americans with the Tall J Foundation, Stewart Sytner and Thomas Megas.

There are documents freely available on the Internet that show they claim that Mr. Miriori sold them mining rights in areas to the north of the Panguna Special Mining Lease. I challenge him to tell us is what Sytner and Megas claim is true.

What about the other investors in Tall J? What advice did they give to Miriori? What about the Tall J investor who brought in the Chinese scrap metal dealers? What advice did he give?

What about the advice that Mr. Ian Renzie Duncan gives? “Mr. Miriori is not being honest about the future of mining. His hands are not clean in relation to mining. “Mr. Miriori is not being honest about foreign advisers. Again his hands are not clean. “I challenge him to be honest on these matters. I challenge him to enter these debates only when he has clean hands.