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 Mining News : PNG Govt Member Miringtoro and Jubilee not happy with new Mining Bill

20140825-Panguna-440x297
By Aloysius Laukai Bougainville News Editor :
The member for Central Bougainville and Minister for Communication in the Papua New Guinea National Government, JIMMY MIRINGTORO told New Dawn FM from Port Moresby that he was not happy that the ABG has rushed this bill on the eve of the ABG General elections.

He said that the ABG should have let the passing of the bill to the next government after more scrutiny from all stakeholders on Bougainville.

MR. MIRINGTORO said that pushing the bill on the eve of the ABG Elections is not proper as other outstanding issues were still not resolved on the future of mining on Bougainville.

He said that from day one he had warned the ABG against the bill especially when the people are still in the dark of this bill that could take away their rights form their land and resources forever.

MR. MIRINGTORO also said that the bill was written by outsiders like the Adam Smith International who have been involved in controversial development policies in the third world.

He said that it was unfortunate the government did not listen to the cries of the citizens and passed the bill.

Meanwhile, New Dawn FM understands that if there are some issues that have not been highlighted can now be done through an amendment of the Bougainville Mining Law by the next ABG Government that will come after the ABG General Elections.

The writs for the election were issued by the Speaker, ANDREW MIRIKI at 4pm this Friday March 27th.

 Jubilee Australia comments on the Bougainville Mining Bill 2014

In February 2015, Jubilee Australia with Bismarck Ramu Group and the International State Crime Initiative wrote to Mr Stephen Burain, the Minister for Mining in the Autonomous Government of Bougainville, commenting on the Bougainville Mining Bill 2014. See the full response here:

Mr. Stephen Burain

Minister for Mining

Autonomous Government of Bougainville

Dear Mr Burain,

As part of our enduring commitment to the mine affected communities in the Panguna region we would like to comment on the Bougainville Mining Bill 2014 drafted by Adam Smith International at the direction of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG).

We gratefully received a copy of the draft mining legislation and regulations from the ABG in December. Our understanding is that the legislation is slated to be voted on in March. As the window is limited for commentary on the documents – which come to 508 pages in length – we have decided to enumerate below some preliminary feedback on the legislation, and the consultation process preceding its proposed approval by Bougainville’s parliament.

1)      Consultation and Independent Assessment

Given that the legislation will lead to the temporary alienation of customary land, with wide ranging effects on the social, economic, cultural and physical life of impacted communities, it is important that the draft mining bill and regulations are subject to a widespread and thorough process of consultation, discussion and independent scrutiny, as affirmed in international treaties,[1] as a principle of international law,[2] and in international best-practice reporting.[3] As the final draft of the mining bill was delivered during November by Adam Smith International, it would seem appropriate to allow a significant period for consultation and revision, in order to give communities across Bougainville adequate time to organise themselves, seek independent expert advice, discuss the legislation, and prepare their response. While a prolonged consultation period would not be appropriate for all draft bills, given that mining has historically been a highly contentious issue on Bougainville, building a legislative framework over which all communities feel a sense of ownership is vital. Coupled to this, the legal complexity of the draft mining bill and associated regulations, make such a prolonged consultation period necessary, so that communities are afforded the time and space to appreciate all the relevant provisions and their long-term implications.

2)      Financial Support to Impacted Communities

It is important that financial resources are made available to those communities who reside on or near mineral resources that are likely to be affected by the bill in the foreseeable future, so they may acquire independent expertise to help them evaluate the draft and share their concerns with the ABG.[4] It is critical that communities are empowered to choose their own sources of independent expert advice, while observing relevant good governance procedure.

3)      Free, Prior and Informed Consent

More specifically on the contents of the draft Bougainville Mining Bill 2014, in light of mining’s contentious history on Bougainville it is especially important that the legislation should encompass best practice with respect to free, informed, prior consent, and echo the standards set out in key international covenants including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and ILO Convention 169. In this respect we would like to highlight a number of preliminary concerns to take into consideration:

         A. Access to Information

In order to conform to best practice the legislation must empower traditional landowning communities by inscribing them with a number of positive rights, including the right to access independent sources of information and expert advice, coupled to a right to receive adequate financial support to seek this advice.[5] By independent sources of information and expert advice, we mean recognised experts who are not linked with the extractive industries or government, whether it be through position or financially, and who can be relied on to act in the best interests of the contracting community. It is concerning that the current draft bill does not appear to afford communities these fundamental positive rights.

        B. Independent Community Consultation

There needs to be more robust mechanisms included in the bill assuring the comprehensibility and independence of the community-consultation process, preceding a mine’s initiation.[6] As it stands, the bill places responsibility on mining companies holding an exploration license or mining lease to develop and enact community engagement plans. While mining companies, of course, have a legitimate place in the consultation process, it is essential that the plan and strategy is implemented by an independent arms-length organisational actor, with an overarching responsibility to act in the best interests of landowners and the public.

       C. Inclusive Consent Processes

More robust measures of consent should be set out in the bill which ensure a clear majority of adult aged landowning community members, whose social, economic, cultural and physical life will be seriously impacted by the project, support the venture, after receiving comprehensive, independent advice on the project’s economic, social, cultural and economic impacts. [7] At the moment, a landowner association approved by the Bougainville Executive Council, can consent to exploration licences and mining leases on behalf of the communities they represent. In light of historical examples in Bougainville, there is serious risk that without further safeguards landowner associations will not be inclusive of vulnerable groups and customary leaders, particularly if association processes and procedures are in a language and cultural form which are inaccessible to a large section of the affected population. Therefore, this current model does not appear to offer a robust mechanism for assuring community-wide participation in the consultation process or when measuring consent. We believe the legislation needs to adopt more robust mechanisms for measuring consent that ensure mining projects are supported by a clear majority of adult-aged landowning community members, whose social, economic, cultural and physical life will be seriously impacted by the project, after receiving comprehensive, independent advice on the project’s economic, social, cultural and economic impacts. It should also include measures that help communities build cooperative, culturally inclusive organisational frameworks that will empower them to participate in the consultation and negotiation process.

       D. Access to Remedy

There need to be independent grievance and accountability mechanisms inscribed into the legislation that empower communities to seek remedies for abuses of rights or legal procedure, whether by a private or governmental actor.[8] This grievance mechanism and body must be at arms-length from all mine stakeholders. Currently no such mechanism exists in the draft bill.

        E. Human Rights Due Diligence

The draft bill needs to include robust human rights standards that mine operators must observe or face serious sanction, with remedies in place for violations of these standards.[9] Not only have mining operators on Bougainville participated in human rights abuses, this behaviour may also be witnessed across Papua New Guinea. Currently the bill does not offer a robust framework for addressing this enduring issue[10].

As you will appreciate, these comments are based off a preliminary reading of the draft bill. Nonetheless, we hope you find this feedback useful, and we welcome a continuing conversation on the issues raised within.

With sincere regards,

Brynnie Goodwill, CEO Jubilee Australia

Co-signed: Bismarck Ramu Group

Co-signed: International State Crime Initiative


[1] ILO Convention 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, Article 6; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 27; International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, Article 15; UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Article 19

[2] Kichwa Indigenous People of Sarayaku v. Ecuador, Judgment, Inter-AM. Ct. H.R. (Ser. C) No. 242, (June 27, 2012), at para. 164.

[3] UN-REDD (2012) Free, Prior and Informed Consent for REDD+ in the Asia-Pacific Region: Lessons Learned, report available online: http://www.unredd.net/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=8047&Itemid=53 (accessed on 20 January 2015)

[4] UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Article 27 & 39.

[5] ILO Convention 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, Article 7; UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Article 27 & 39

[6] ILO Convention 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, Article 15; UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Article 32

[7] Ibid

[8] UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Article 11, UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, Principles 25, 26, 27, 28, 31,

[9] UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, Principles 6, 7, 9

[10] Un Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, Principle 3

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 Mining News: Ex-combatants in Bougainville support controversial Bougainville Mining Act.

 

Grand Chief Momis addresses Excoms

“The government has done everything to thoroughly explain to the people the new Bill and how it will greatly regulate the extractive industry on Bougainville.We cannot continue to undermine the government for it is the very thing that we fought and died for, doing so only renders the purpose of our struggle moot,  .We are all behind the government and will not resort to creating instability within the region.

Spokesman for the ex-combatants, Cornelius Solomon

Ex-combatants in Bougainville have rallied behind the Autonomous Bougainville Government to support the passing of the controversial permanent Bougainville Mining Act.

Written and Supplied by Anthony Kaybing

The ex-combatants met with the ABG and its officials this afternoon (Tuesday) to express their support of the bill and assured ABG President Grand Chief Dr John Momis of their intent.

The permanent Bougainville Mining Bill is the brainchild of the Momis led ABG in its efforts to curb mineral resource problems that led to the bloody ten year civil conflict on the island.

The Bill if passed will give landowners a pronounced say on how mineral extraction is carried out on their lands and also controls the type of would be developers interested in mining on Bougainville.

The Bougainville Mining Department as well as the Bougainville Justice Department have been carrying out widespread awareness on the issue throughout Bougainville to explain the intricacies of the Bill to Bougainville communities.

Despite being hailed as a successful attempt by the government to protect Bougainville’s interests there have been certain elements who continue to argue that the bill is a sham and designed to sell Bougainville.

Foremost amongst its critics is former Bougainville Revolutionary Army strongman Sam Kauona who claims that the Bill lacks certain details that safe guard Bougainville from being exploited again.

But a different sentiment was echoed by Mr Kauona’s former comrades who claimed ownership of the government and in this light respected the ABG’s intent on passing the Bill.

Spokesman for the ex-combatants, Cornelius Solomon said the government has done everything to thoroughly explain to the people the new Bill and how it will greatly regulate the extractive industry on Bougainville.

Cornelius Solomon on behalf of excoms affirms ABG support

“We cannot continue to undermine the government for it is the very thing that we fought and died for, doing so only renders the purpose of our struggle moot,” Mr Solomon said.

Mr Solomon said that the ex-combatants were all behind the government and would not resort to creating instability within the region.

President Momis and his government also expressed their gratitude to the ex-combatants for taking the initiative to recognize the ABG’s efforts to act in the best interest of the people of Bougainville.

The Bill will be tabled sometime this week in the Bougainville House of Representatives as the members prepare to sit for the final sitting of the ABG second house since coming into office in 2010 before if goes to the polls in May.

 

Bougainville JSB Outcomes : PNG Prime Minister assures ABG of support at Arawa summit

Outcomes

 

The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Hon Peter O’Neil assured the Autonomous Bougainville Government President Chief Dr John Momis and the people of Bougainville that any outstanding issues presented by the Autonomous Bougainville Government at the Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) meeting will be addressed and effectively resolved.

Hon Peter O’neil assured that the issues were to be resolved during the JSB meeting held on Friday March 13th 2015. Prime Minister Peter O’Neil reassured that other outstanding issues would be addressed effectively before the next JSB meeting.

By Tanya Lahies from the Bureau of Media and Communications

……………………………………………………………………………………………..
PM Peter O’Neil assures ABG to resolve issues of transfer of powers

Prime Minister Peter O’neil responded:“I want to assure you, issues about transferring of powers will be effectively resolved before the next JSB meeting.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………..
PM Peter O’Neil assures ABG to resolve issues of funding

Prime Minister Peter O’Neil said: “I want to assure you that our national government will honor every commitment prior to the peace agreement. That includes the Special Intervention Funds (SIF); ongoing recurrent expenditures; funding will be provided for recurrent expenditures. I want to assure the people of Bougainville that we will expand the LLGSIP funds.”
……………………………………………………………………………………………..
PM Peter O’Neil assures ABG of support to the ABG 2015 National Elections

Prime Minister Peter O’Neil said: “We will transfer K1million to assisting with the elections. The transfer was made this week.”
……………………………………………………………………………………………..
PM Peter O’Neil assures ABG for referendum

Prime Minister Peter O’Neil said: “As I have publicly said before, there are conditions which are attached to the referendum that we all have agreed to.”

“We must follow the conditions so that the people have the rights to make a free choice. “

“We are committed as a national government to the referendum process and as governments before, we assure you that we will work closely with you to ensure that –a referendum committee is established and it is working so that we can be able to address many outstanding issues.”
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PM Peter O’Neil assures of commitment to Bougainville

Prime Minister Peter O’Neil said: “I explained publicly during my visits to Arawa, Buin and Panguna that I am committed to making sure that we provide the level of services that our people expect and I’m pleased to see that our Joint Programme Management Unit (PMU) is working closely together to making sure that many of the key infrastructure challenges that we have are been addressed.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neil announced that preparations are under way for the major road network from Kieta to Kangu wharf. “A tender for the major road network between Kieta to Kangu wharf has been now forwarded to the general suppliers for tenders board for awarding of contracts.
…………………………………………………………………………………………….
PM Peter O’Neil assures of commitment to working with PMU

Prime Minister Peter O’Neil said: “We will work closely with the Programme Management Unit (PMU) again in making sure that the services are to be delivered in a more kindly manner as well.”
……………………………………………………………………………………………..
PM Peter O’Neil’s remark on JSB Meeting

Prime Minister Peter O’Neil said: “Today the joint supervisory body meeting now marks a new level of government. It is important that we continue that we work together- the rest to assure that we show our government support- our top priority of restoring basic services. “

Prime Minister Peter O’Neil reassured that commitment to the ABG has always been strong. “We will continue to work with you till we implement many of our programmes. I want to reassure that our government will continue to support your government to ensuring the best outcomes to achieving the best standard of living.

Bougainville 2015 Elections all the latest news updated

 

julie Bishop

This post contains 5 Bougainville Election updates

1.Bougainville women encouraged to stand for election

2.Bougainville Electoral Commission’s historic election

3.ABG election on track

4.Commissioner attends successful talkback show

5.Voters urged to get enrolled

WOMEN in Bougainville have been encouraged by the acting Bougainville Electoral Commissioner George Manu to contest in the upcoming 2015 ABG General Election.

Picture: Julie Bishop a friend of Bougainville for many years recently hosted Autonomous #Bougainville Government MPs Joan Jerome, Rose Pihei, Elizabeth Burain in her Canberra Office. The Australian and US government are investing in women organisation as an aid priority

Mr Manu said apart from the three regional seats reserved for women in the ABG parliament, women who believed that they are capable of representing their people in parliament should also stand for the constituency and presidential seats.

He said not many women had contested for the constituency and presidential seats in the last two ABG General Elections.

“During the past two elections there was less number of women contesting so I am encouraging more women to contest in this election,” said Mr Manu.

He said women should go and check whether they are on the electoral roll or get enrolled and update their details if required in order to be eligible to contest or cast their votes in the election.

“March is the month all Bougainvilleans, including women, should ensure they are enrolled correctly.

“Go and visit your council of elders and village assemblies, your district office or a regional office of the Bougainville Electoral Commission located in Buka, Arawa and Buin. Here you can view the preliminary roll, or fill out a new enrolment form to ensure you are on the roll in time for the 2015 General Election,” said Mr Manu.

 Bougainville Electoral Commission’s historic election

THIS year’s ABG General Election will be historical to the people of Bougainville as it will be run by the Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner.

During the past two ABG General Elections held in 2005 and 2010, the PNG Electoral Commission (PNGEC) was responsible for conducting these elections.

Even though PNGEC and the Australia and New Zealand electoral commissions are providing technical assistance and support, the Bougainville electoral commission will be taking the leading role in conducting the election.

Move towards the establishment of Bougainville’s own electoral commission has been spearheaded by the current acting commissioner, George Manu.

Even though a decision to establish the Bougainville Electoral Commission was made by the Bougainville Executive Council in 2010, this was never achieved until Mr Manu’s acting appointment in 2013.

Mr Manu was tasked to conduct five ABG by-elections, but instead of only concentrating on these by-elections, he decided to also start actioning the BEC decision on the establishment of the commission.

Apart from managing the processes and the preparations already achieved, the Bougainville electoral commission has also produced its own materials, manuals and forms for voter registrations to be used in the elections.

ABG election on track

PREPARATIONS for the 2015 ABG General Election are still on track, that’s the assurance from the acting Bougainville Electoral Commissioner, George Manu.

“All preparations are on track and I am confident that we will deliver this election according to our schedule,” said Mr Manu.

“Me and my returning officers are determined and set to run this election for the people of Bougainville.”

Mr Manu’s assurance now puts to rest doubts many people had regarding the preparations for the election.

He added that though the Autonomous Bougainville Government was slow in releasing funding to conduct the election, he is confident the election will still be conducted in accordance with the election schedule.

“The only hiccup we had was the late release of funding to conduct the election. But the Bougainville Electoral Commission is focused on the delivery of this election. Our duty is to conduct the election,” said Mr Manu.

Meanwhile, the acting Bougainville electoral commissioner has commended the ABG for releasing K1. 5 million to the electoral commission last week.

Part of this funding will now be used to conduct the public scrutiny.

Commissioner attends successful talkback show

THE radio talkback show hosted by Bougainville Radio Ples Lain with the acting Bougainville Electoral Commissioner George Manu last Wednesday has been hailed a success.

The program which was relayed live on NBC Bougainville saw Mr Manu giving updates on the general preparations currently undertaken by his office towards the staging of the election.

This includes activities like the updating of the electoral roll for the ABG election.

Mr Manu said the enrolment exercise was very important as the available data that the commission had before the commencement of this exercise was four years out of date.

Mr Manu also gave an update on the establishment of the Bougainville Electoral Commission as well as on the core functions of the Bougainville electoral commission.

He also outlined the rights of people to vote as well as the importance of this coming election.

During the program, Mr Manu was also able to answer queries raised by some concern listeners.

Many people that were in Buka town when the program was aired live as well as listeners from the villages in mainland Bougainville as far as Tinputz district were fortunate to have access to this information as they now have a fair idea on the preparations of the election.

Voters urged to get enrolled

By WINTERFORD TOREAS

THE acting Bougainville Electoral Commissioner, George Manu is appealing to all eligible voters in Bougainville to make sure that their names are on the electoral roll.
“I am appealing to all eligible voters to make sure that your names are on the electoral roll so that you will be able to cast your votes in the election,” said Mr Manu.
“It is important that your name should be on the electoral roll. If your name is not on the roll, then you will not be able to vote in the coming election,” added Mr Manu.
According to the ABG election schedule, the preliminary rolls will shortly be sent back to each districts and constituencies for public viewing this week.
The preliminary rolls consist of names of those that were registered during the field enrolment exercise carried out towards the end of last year.
“I am appealing to all eligible voters to go to your district and council of elders’ offices and village assemblies and check that your name is in the electoral roll. If your name is not on the roll or it is on the roll but not spelt correctly, you will be given an enrolment form to fill so that we will enrol your name in the final electoral roll.
“Enrolment will not be accepted once the writs are issued,” said Mr Manu.

END……………………………..///

 

Bougainville Women’s News: Strengthening the participation of women in Bougainville’s development

BW

The Challenge: Prior to the conflict, Bougainville women played vital roles in community-level decision-making and were key agents of development. Overall, women held important positions in the family and community. Since the conflict this role has been weakened, resulting in women being marginalised from community decision-making processes. Further, during the conflict, women suffered violence as victims of torture, rape, and forced labour. The weakened capacity of women as agents of development within their communities and the low capacity of government departments working at the local level are widely viewed as significant challenges to development efforts

View the World Bank Website for more

Overview

Located at the eastern-most point of the New Guinea islands, Bougainville comprises two large and many smaller islands. It has a population of approximately 200,000 and over a dozen different languages. A province of Papua New Guinea since 1975, Bougainville is now an autonomous region within the country — the result of a nine-year revolt that left tens of thousands killed, a divided and traumatised population, degraded infrastructure, and a shattered economy brought on by the collapse of its main industry, mining.

Solution               

The Inclusive Development in Post-Conflict Bougainville project will benefit women and women’s organisations across the autonomous region as well as communities where projects are implemented and the individuals and agencies who are trained under the project.

The project consists of three components:

  1. Building Capacity for Inclusive Community Development; training women’s organisations and civil society organisations to support the involvement of women in community development. Training is provided for staff in the government, district and sub-district levels.
  2. Small Grants for Inclusive Community Development; women’s groups are invited to apply the concepts and skills they have learned from training directly to the design and implementation of community-based projects through the availability of small grants.
  3. Project Management and Knowledge Sharing.

 

Results

Through component 1, training has been delivered to 450 participants, exceeding the goal of 400 in the implementation plan.  Over two thirds of the participants have been women, exceeding the target of about 40%.  There were 51 participants from the Public Service which exceeds the goal of 46 as well as 190 participants from CSOs which exceeded the goal of 152.

Through component 2, small grants have been awarded to 41 women’s groups, including at least one project in each of Bougainville’s 13 districts. People benefitting from completed grant projects are estimated at over 48,000, nearly 25% of the population.

An Independent Monitoring Group concluded that public goods from the project are reaching communities with overall sound management of funds and that women’s roles are being strengthened through their direct management, ownership and leadership in the whole process.

 

Bank contribution

The World Bank (State and Peace-building Fund) has contributed US$2.5 million for this project

 

Moving forward

With the project currently set to close in March 2015, plans are underway to secure additional financing to extend the project to March 2018. Additional financing would support the provision of two more rounds of small grants to women’s groups, one per round for each of the 41 Community Governments.  Training would continue to build the capacity of women’s groups while also engaging District officials and Community Government leaders more actively in development planning monitoring and implementation support.

Promotion/Advertising : Donate here to support www.bookgainville.com educating young girls throughout Bougainville

Bookgainville  Project on Bougainville PNG

 

Bougainville Education and Health News: New report -A lost decade? Service Delivery and reforms in Papua New Guinea

photo (9)

The positive results revealed by the survey not only show that progress in service delivery is possible in Papua New Guinea, but also show how progress can be made. A large chunk of the report is devoted to understanding the impact (or lack of impact) of recent reforms, such as free health and education, and the reasons for the differences and trends that we observe”

Launched at the ANU Canberra Australia by Mr Charles Lepani Papua New Guinea High Commissioner to Australia

Picture Colin Cowell Bougainville News; Canberra

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT HERE , A lost decade? Service delivery and reforms in Papua New Guinea,

How to make service delivery work in Bougainville and Papua New Guinea

A report based on two surveys ten years apart and two years of analysis has been  by a team of researchers from the National Research Institute (NRI) and The Australian National University (ANU).

In 2002, the Papua New Guinea National Research Institute (NRI), in collaboration with the World Bank, surveyed some 330 primary schools and health clinics across the country, from the national capital to the most remote districts. In 2012, NRI, this time in collaboration with the Development Policy Centre at ANU, went back to many of the same primary schools and health clinics in the same eight provinces, this time surveying a total of about 360 facilities.

The end-product is a data set of unprecedented detail and depth in relation to service delivery in PNG. Indeed, very few countries around the world can boast of a panel survey of facilities of this type which enables comparisons to be made over time.

The NRI-ANU research team has spent the last two years analysing the data sets,

PEPEcover-213x300

The report, A lost decade? Service delivery and reforms in Papua New Guinea, shows that PNG’s primary schools have expanded rapidly over the last decade, but that fewer services are now provided by its health clinics.

Since the difficulties of service delivery in PNG are already well-known, what is perhaps more interesting are the areas of progress shown in the report. There were 89 per cent more children enrolled in the average PNG primary school in 2012 compared to 2001. Whereas there used to be one girl at primary school for every two boys, now there is almost one girl for every boy. The number of teachers has grown by a third over the decade, and the share of female teachers has grown from a quarter to a half. The number of ghost teachers (teachers claiming pay but not actually working) has fallen dramatically. The average school has more and better classrooms, teacher houses and textbooks. More have drinking water and electricity.

Of course, PNG’s primary schools and – to a much greater extent – health clinics still face many challenges. A third of classrooms require rebuilding: the same share as in 2002. Class sizes have increased a lot, and there are broader concerns about the quality of education on offer. Though the number of children in school has certainly increased, absenteeism has risen.

Nevertheless, the positive results revealed by the survey not only show that progress in service delivery is possible in Papua New Guinea, but also show how progress can be made. A large chunk of the report is devoted to understanding the impact (or lack of impact) of recent reforms, such as free health and education, and the reasons for the differences and trends that we observe.

Getting finances to the service delivery front-line stands out as critical. A lot more funds are reaching schools today than health clinics. About 40 per cent of health clinics receive no external support at all (in cash or in kind), whereas nearly all schools receive the twice-yearly subsidy payments. And schools receive more than twice as much funding than they did ten years ago, even after inflation. What they have lost in school fees they have more than made up for through generous government support.

Local governance and supervision also matter. Schools have mature and increasingly powerful Boards of Management which provide local oversight. They receive community support through P&C Committees. And most schools are inspected.

Resolving workforce issues is also key. The Education Department has been able to hire new teachers, whereas many retired health workers continue in place since there is no-one to replace them. Significantly, about half the health workers we interviewed felt they were not being paid at the correct grade. That was true of teachers ten years ago, but now it is only 10 per cent. Again, progress is possible.

In summary, getting funding to the front line, providing community and administrative oversight, and sorting out human resource problems seems to be the secret for the success of PNG’s primary schools. It is a recipe that could be applied more to primary health care, perhaps starting at the bigger district-level facilities.

Regular monitoring of basic data across PNG is critical for understanding what is working, what isn’t working, and why. Without it, we will be in the dark about service delivery. We look forward to the discussion that we hope our report will generate. In our next phase of research, we’ll be going back into the field to undertake more detailed case studies to better understand the conditions required for service delivery success. And perhaps in another five years or so we’ll be able to further develop this unique data set by undertaking another nationwide facility survey.

The PNG Promoting Effective Public Expenditure Project

A lost decade? Service delivery and reforms in Papua New Guinea 2002-2012

Stephen Howes, Andrew Anton Mako, Anthony Swan, Grant Walton, Thomas Webster and Colin Wiltshire
October 2014
This report presents the results of a 2012 survey of 360 primary schools and health clinics across eight provinces in PNG, from the nation’s capital to its most far-flung and inaccessible regions. Many of the same facilities were surveyed at the start of the decade. By combining the two surveys, we can assess progress on health and education service delivery over time, and analyse the impact of important policy reforms.

Professor Stephen Howes is Director of the Development Policy Centre. Andrew Anton Mako was a Research Fellow at NRI for most of the duration of this project. Dr Grant Walton and Dr Anthony Swan are Research Fellows at the Development Policy Centre. Dr Thomas Webster is the Director of the National Research Institute. Colin Wiltshire is the Project Manager for the PEPE project at the Development Policy Centre.

 

Bougainville Mining News: Momis tells PNG PM O’Neill “Panguna mine decision a matter for Bougainville

O amd M

“I have today sent a letter to the Prime Minister reminding him that Bougainvilleans are deeply concerned about the future of mining in Bougainville, and determined to control it themselves, through the ABG.

The letter is attached to this statement. DOWNLOAD Momis – O’Neil re MGU Visit – Nov 2014

Download Minutes of meeting Minining Bougainville Minutes Page 1 and 2

MOMIS TO O’NEILL: PANGUNA MINE DECISIONS A MATTER FOR BOUGAINVILLE

President Momis said today that he was deeply concerned that Prime Minister O’Neill wants the National Government to control future mining at Panguna.

On Thursday 9th October the Prime Minister held a three hour meeting with a team form the ‘Me’ekamui Government of Unity’ (‘MGU’). The meeting was arranged by the office of the Member for Central Bougainville, Hon. Jimmy Miringtoro.

The President said that the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) has obtained minutes of matters discussed at that meeting, prepared by the ‘MGU’ team. The Minutes (attached to this statement) report the Prime Minister as saying:

Ok Tedi is your model to help you with mining in the future’; and

We have given the Western Province 20% ownership of Ok Tedi’; and

I will give 35% to Bougainville in any mining in the future’.

The President said:  “The Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA) states clearly that the main goal of Bougainville’s autonomy is to ‘empower Bougainvilleans to solve their own problems, manage their own affairs and work to realize their aspirations’.

Because of our experience of mining, mining was in the first set of powers that the ABG requested to be transferred from the National Government. “I told him that the idea of the National Government operating mining at Panguna (or anywhere else in Bougainville) is completely unacceptable to Bougainville.

Any attempt by the National Government to control mining in Bougainville could cause Bougainvilleans to lose all faith in the BPA. Many would refuse to work with the National Government any more.

They would want immediate independence. It would be a recipe for undermining, perhaps even destroying, support for the BPA. “I met with the Prime Minister on Friday 3rd October (just six days before your meeting of 9th October) and again on Tuesday 18 November. Both meetings discussed the Prime Minister’s views about Bougainville.

Yet he made no mention in either meeting of the views he expressed to the MGU team on 9th October. “He must explain why he can express such dangerous proposals to the MGU, and refuse to discuss them with me.

Is he trying to divide the people of Bougainville?“If such views were expressed by the Prime Minister, they clearly have serious potential for undermining relationships between the ABG and the National Government.

“In the interests of maintaining a working relationship between your Government and mine, it is essential that the Prime Minister clarify his position on these issues.”

“I have today sent a letter to the Prime Minister reminding him that Bougainvilleans are deeply concerned about the future of mining in Bougainville, and determined to control it themselves, through the ABG. The letter is attached to this statement.

“This meeting was arranged by the office of Mr. Jimmy Miringtoro. The minutes indicate Mr. O’Neill wants the National Government to control mining at Panguna in the same way it manages Ok Tedi.

Other information available to me indicates that the Prime Minister also told the MGU group that the National Government proposes to purchase Rio Tinto’s shares in BCL to allow to control Panguna mining.

 

AUTONOMOUS BOUGAINVILLE GOVERNMENT

OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

 

Hon. Peter O’Neil MP                                                                                2 December 2014

Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea

Office of the Prime Minister

Morauta Haus

Waigani, NCD

 

My dear Prime Minister,

I have been advised that on Thursday 9th October you held a three hour meeting with a team form the ‘Me’ekamui Government of Unity’ (‘MGU’), organised through the office of the Member for Central Bougainville, Hon. Jimmy Miringtoro, and attended by his Press Secretary, Mr. Chris Baria. Minutes (two pages) from that meeting, apparently prepared by the ‘MGU’ team, have been provide to my Government. They are attached to this letter.

You will perhaps be aware that this meeting, and the views reported by the ‘MGU’ team to have been expressed by you have caused great consternation to many Bougainvilleans. In the Minutes you are reported as saying:

‘John Momis is going ahead of me with important issues – PNG can’t allow that’.

Issues about ownership of Panguna land and resources, and the future of large-scale mining there, were a focus of the meeting. The Minutes report you as saying:

In this context you are reported as saying that you believe that mining powers and functions have not been validly transferred to the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and that the Bougainville Mining (Transitional Arrangements) Act 2014 is invalid.

Ok Tedi is your model to help you with mining in the future’; and

We have given the Western Province 20% ownership of Ok Tedi’; and

I will give 35% to Bougainville in any mining in the future’.

I also understand that you suggested to the MGU group that they should consult with me and my Government about the issues that you discussed with them. While I welcome that advice, I have grave concerns about the above your reported views. Amongst other things:

I understand that in this context you proposed that the National Government purchase shares held by Rio Tinto in BCL and control future mining operations at Panguna, similar to arrangements with Ok Tedi.

Given the various decisions made since January 2008, jointly between the National Government and the ABG (through the Joint Supervisory Body), about the transfer of mining powers to the ABG, and the multiple efforts made by the ABG to consult the National Government about development of the Bougainville Mining (Transitional Arrangements) Act 2014, it would be a matter of the gravest concern if you did in fact express the reported views concerning the transfer of mining powers and the Bougainville Mining (Transitional Arrangements) Act 2014.

There are few issues of greater sensitivity to Bougainvilleans than those concerning the future of mining in Bougainville. A key goal of autonomy recorded in clause 4(b) of the Bougainville Peace Agreement(BPA) is to ‘empower Bougainvilleans to solve their own problems, manage their own affairs and work to realize their aspirations’. In the light of Bougainville’s experience of mining, it is no coincidence that the first set of powers that the ABG requested to be transferred included mining

Bougainvilleans regard it as essential that all decisions about future mining be made by the ABG, on behalf of all Bougainvilleans. The concept of the National Government operating mining at Panguna (or anywhere else in Bougainville) – whether on a basis like Ok Tedi or on any other basis – is completely unacceptable to Bougainville

Any attempt by the National Government to control mining in Bougainville could cause most Bougainvilleans to lose all faith in the BPA, and to refuse to work with the National Government any more. Many would want to seek immediate independence. It would be a recipe for severely undermining, perhaps even destroying, support for the BPA.

I met with you in Port Moresby on Friday 3rd October (just six days before your meeting of 9th October) and again on Tuesday 18 November.

In both meetings our discussion focused on your views about issues concerning Bougainville. Yet you made no mention at all in either meeting of the views you advanced in the meeting on 9th October.

It is difficult for me to understand how you could have been unwilling to discuss with me the views you are reported to have stated to the ‘MGU’ team on such important, sensitive and potentially divisive issues.

If such views were expressed, they have serious potential for undermining relationships between the ABG and the National Government.In the interests of maintaining a working relationship between your Government and mine, it is essential that you clarify your position on the matters raised in this letter, and that you do so as a matter of urgency.  

 

Bougainville Law and Order News: Police could pull out of Buin town due to no support from the local communities.

Police

Story by Aloysius Laukai :Pictured is Snr Sergeant JOHN POPUI with his Buin Police Parading at the recent Tuiruma Festival

Buin Police could pull out of Buin town if a meeting by Buin Police personnel decide on their future today

This was the message from the Commander of Bougainville Police based in BUIN, Senior Sergeant JOHN POPUI. He told New Dawn FM in Buin that Police have been living in Buin under extreme pressure due to no support from the local communities.

Senior Sergeant JOHN POPUI made these remarks after one of his Police Officers was attacked by a group of men from a nearby village. The Police Officer got his left hand, leg and head sliced by a knife wielding man. The Police Officer, named was off duty and was attacked outside the Police Station and was rushed to the Buin Health Centre after the incident. Senior Sergeant JOHN POPUI said that he personally followed the attackers to stop them but they also threatened him.

He told New Dawn FM that the incident had nothing to do with yesterday’s launching of the Radio Ples Lain in Buin but those involved had gathered to witness the launching in Buin Town. Commander Popui also said that the incident also disturbed the broadcast of Radio Ples Lain in Buin and had to leave Buin in the early hours of this morning for Buka.

He said they were supposed to Broadcast for the second day today Sunday. The Police Commander said that the use of knives in town only happens in Buin town and not the other centres like Arawa and Buka.

He said this was not the first time his Police Officers were attacked by villagers and does not want to tolerate these actions anymore as his officers are also human beings who have families. Senior Sergeant POPUI said the communities in Buin must rise and condemn such actions that is threatening the rule of law and peace in the Buin District.

He said if Police abandon Buin town, the conduct of the coming ABG general election in South Bougainville could also be affected.

Meanwhile, New Dawn FM understands that the Police manpower decreased when the New Zealand sponsored Community Auxiliary Police project was transferred to the Autonomous Bougainville Government and funding discontinued.

Recently the Assistant Police Commissioner, Superintendent, PAUL KAMUAI called on the ABG to honour its commitment and pay the Community Auxiliary Police Officers who are doing policing in the communities. Ends