New Bougainville Government : Momis appoints seven members to the executive council

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The new parliament will be required to prepare the autonomous Papua New Guinea region for a vote on possible independence, to be held before 2020.

Mr Momis says a critical element of this process is to ensure the region’s economy becomes viable and this has prompted the new portfolio.

“We want to put a lot of emphasis on the responsibility of the autonomous government to raise revenue and I think one of the best ways of doing that would be to have a ministry wholly and solely responsible for economic generation of revenue for economic development.”

The President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government, Grand Chief Dr John Lawrence Momis has announced seven Members of the Bougainville House of Representatives to the Bougainville Executive Council.

WATCH EMTV News report here

The new Ministers join Vice President Patrick Nisira, who is the new Minister for Referendum, Peace, and Veterans Affairs on the BEC.

Six of the Ministers have been appointed under Section 81 (3) of the Bougainville Constitution on the Recommendations of the three Regional Committees of the House of Representatives with the seventh Minister being the nominee of the four women Members of the House unders Section 80 (1) (c).

The new Ministers are;

Hon. Albert Punghau (Motuna Huyono)                    Finance

Hon. Jacob Tooke (Baubake)                                     Community Development

Hon. Nicholas Darku (North Nasioi)                         Primary Industries

Hon. Robin Wilson (Terra)                                        Mining

Hon. Raymond Masono (Atolls)                                Public Service

Hon. Fidelis Semoso (Tsitalato)                                Economic Development

Hon. Josephine Getsi (Peit)                                       Community Development

President Momis retains the Planning as well as Inter-government Relations Portfolios.

“As a result of these appointments, there are five Ministerial Portfolios yet to be filled, I expect to be in a position to announce the remaining Ministers later this week and I will also announce their portfolios,” President Momis said.

“While I have confidence in the talents of my new Ministers, I want to make it clear that I expect a high standard of performance from them,” President Momis said.

President Momis added that he has put each of his Ministers on notice and that he will review their performance after the new government’s first six months in office and that any Minister who has not performed to a satisfactory level will be removed.

The President said his next task will be to revitalize the Bougainville Public Service and to ensure it is lean and starts to work efficiently to carry out its prerogatives.

He said the Bougainville Public Service will undergo serious changes to its structure in an effort to save on costs and the mismanagement of public funds and government assets.

He offered that his government will clamp down on corruption and added that with his cabinet finalized the ABG will now move to give the best possible service to the people of Bougainville.

 

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

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

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

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

Simon Pentanu Speaker, Autonomous Bougainville Government 2015-2020

See full speech below or Download a copy here

 Acceptance and acknowledgment by Speaker Simon Pentanu AROB 2015

BY SEBASTIAN HAKALITS

THE Autonomous Bougainville Government has a new speaker.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACCEPTANCE AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Simon Gregory Pentanu

Speaker of the House of Representatives

Autonomous Region of Bougainville

Kubu

15 June 2015

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Honourable Members,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Honourable Members,

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

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

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

Honourable Members,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bougainville Elections 2015 : Deciding our future only 9 days to go

Voting

 

By Aloysius Laukai Managing Editor Bougainville News International -Subscribe for email delivery

Polling in 24 of the 33 seats in the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s Parliament were completed today Saturday May 16th, 2015.

This means only 9 Constituencies are yet to complete polling before end of polling on May 26th.

This also means that the remaining areas must be covered in the next nine days.

This was revealed by the Acting Bougainville Electoral Commissioner, GEORGE MANU this afternoon in his daily press conferences.MANU said that despite the hiccups at the start of Polling he was happy that polling is progressing well.

By this afternoon polling have been completed in many areas.

In North Bougainville, polling has been completed in 12 CONSTITUENCIES of HAKU,PEIT,HALIA,HAGOGOHE,TONSU,TSITALATO,SELAU,TEUA,MAHARI,

TAONITA TINPUTZ and TAONITA TEOP.

In South polling has been completed in twelve Constituencies of RAMU,KONNOU,LULE, BAUBAKE,MAKIS,KOPII,MOTUNA HUYONO, BABA,LATO,BOLAVE and TOROKINA.

The Commissioner said that due to communication difficulties receiving updates for Central continues to be challenging at times.

Polling for Monday will take place at RATERI in the Rao Constituency whilst team 99 For IORO will poll at SIREDONSI village, team 111 for South Nasioi will poll at ROREINANG and in KOKODA team 125 will poll at KOROMIRA.

GM

NEWDAWNPIC of George Manu by Aloysius Laukai

The Bougainville Electoral Commissioner, GEORGE MANU today commented on the 2015 ABG Election Common Roll.

He told a media conference in Buka this afternoon that significant resources are required at an Institutional, Human Resourcing and Infrastructure level to maintain an accurate and comprehensive Common Roll and this remains a challenge for Bougainville.MANU said that it is a legal obligation of every Bougainvillean to enrol as a voter and it is the obligation of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner, through the Returning Officers to provide that facility to the people.

He said that a good roll depends on the involvement by the people MANU said that through the Returning Officers, Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commission undertook an active enrolment drive between September 2014 and February 2015.

The drive resulted in a Preliminary Roll with about 11,500 additional voters.

The Preliminary Roll was put on public display for about two weeks and at the end of the public scrutiny another 8,800  voters were added to the roll.

The Electoral Commissioner said that the final Electoral Roll used for the 2015 ABG Election totals 172,797 voters, which is an increase of about 20,000 extra voters from the previous roll.

He said that his office received funding for the 2015 ABG General Elections only few weeks before the roll closed on the issue of the writs on March 27th, 2015.

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

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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 2015 elections : United Nations kicks off training and media support

cq5dam_web_699_470“These elections are of fundamental importance to Bougainville. OBEC welcomes the UN´s support in these key components of a democratic election.”

OBEC´s acting Commissioner, George Manu

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is starting a comprehensive training programme focusing on election Scrutineers, Returning Officers, and Media in Bougainville.

The polling period will fall between May 11 and May 25. Counting will commence immediately after the polling period from May 26 to June 7 and the writs will be returned the next day, June 8, 2015

The trainings are part of UNDP´s effort to enhance the understanding of the 2015 Bougainville general elections process, due to start from 11 May. UNDP will also be supporting the coordination of election observation groups, providing training support to women candidates, and facilitating a post-elections lessons-learnt exercise.

The scrutineer training is expected to reach as many as 720 people and aims to provide scrutineers with an overview of the electoral process and their role in it so that any complaints raised during polling and counting are based on an understanding of those processes.

UNDP will also facilitate small group and one-on-one training discussions with Bougainville’s 19 Returning Officers, focusing on the Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commission´s (OBEC) process for handling complaints during the polling and counting periods. The training aims to ensure that complaints about elections are resolved in a consistent, transparent, and timely manner.

The media training will target local media houses. The main objective of the training is to equip journalists with the basic knowledge and professional skills that will enable them to cover election processes in a fair, balanced, and non-partisan way and through them enable citizens to become well-informed and active participants in the political decision processes.

“Election stakeholders, such as Scrutineers, Returning Officers, and Media, are a key component of the wider election process. By ensuring their understanding of their role and the electoral procedures, we are promoting credible elections,” said Ray Kennedy, UNDP´s electoral support team leader.

OBEC´s acting Commissioner, George Manu, stated that “These elections are of fundamental importance to Bougainville. OBEC welcomes the UN´s support in these key components of a democratic election.”

Roy Trivedy, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative, said that “The UN is working closely with OBEC. This training will assist to ensure free and transparent elections.”

UNDP has tailored its election support following a request of the Government of PNG and the Autonomous Bougainville Government for a UN electoral assistance project to strengthen local capacity in the lead up to the 2015 elections.

For further requests, please contact: bougainville.elections.2015@undp.org

Media accreditation to start for 2015 general elections in Bougainville

28 Apr 2015The Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner (OBEC) has today announced the start of a media accreditation process for the coverage of the 2015 elections.The accreditation process will start on 27 April and will continue through the elections to allow the media easier access to election officials, locations, and information.OBEC invites all interested media houses to request further details on the accreditation process from the election commission´s Media Relations unit.

Together with their accreditation badge, journalists will receive an election handbook containing useful information on the election process.

According to OBEC´s Acting Commissioner, George Manu, “OBEC, with the support of the United Nations Development Programme, has developed a simple media accreditation process that will enable journalists to gain access to relevant electoral events”.

“This new process of media accreditation is one further step to pave the way for credible and transparent elections, according to international election standards”, Manu added.

OBEC is the entity responsible for the administration and conduct of the Bougainville 2015 general elections, to be held from 11 May.
UNDP is providing support to the OBEC’s media accreditation process as part of its wider work on supporting the Autonomous Bougainville Government in upholding general elections scheduled to take place in May-June 2015.
Specific assistance will be provided to the areas including: the development of step-by-step prioritized electoral support plan; provision of technical guidance on implementing the support plan; coordinating the deployment of international observers; training of election scrutineers; developing training materials and providing hands-on training for female candidates and more. Project is implemented by UNDP in partnership with its sister agencies and will run from March to July 2015.

Bougainville Mining News: Bougainville mine now in play, government says

PNG PM

Secret dealings of this kind are completely unacceptable to the people of Bougainville, It would be unacceptable to the people of Bougainville for the national government to try to take control of Panguna. Such a move, would trigger demands for immediate independence “

“We cannot allow a new form of colonial dealings in Bougainville’s resources to occur.”

Bougainville President John Momis

The Bougainville Autonomous Government is convinced Bougainville Copper — which owns a mine containing copper and gold worth more than $50 billion, as well as a recently ­reconfirmed exploration licence — is now in play.

As reported in todays Australian Newspaper  By: Rowan Callick Asia Pacific Editor

Bougainville President John Momis last week called on Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Rio Tinto to reveal any dealings over Rio’s 53.58 per cent shares in BCL.

“For over a year now, Mr O’Neill has expressed interest in the national government taking control of BCL,” Mr Momis said.

“He proposes that PNG operate the Panguna mine in Bougainville in the same way it operates the Ok Tedi mine,” which Mr O’Neill’s government took over in 2013.

The PNG government has hired Peter Graham, who led ExxonMobil’s successful construction of the country’s first liquefied natural gas project, to manage Ok Tedi mine and potentially to steer other state-owned mining assets.

The Bougainville mine, which was closed by conflict in 1989 and which would cost an estimated $6.5bn or more to reopen, is also owned 19.06 per cent by the PNG government, and 27.36 per cent by other shareholders.

Mr O’Neill confirmed that “we have had discussions with other shareholders of BCL on a range of issues including the reopening of the mine and the disposal of shares by existing shareholders, including Rio Tinto”.

But, he added, “There are no secret deals, and we are disappointed that President Momis is trying to use this issue at the time of the election” for a new Bougainville government that takes place at the end of next month.

“President Momis has been informed of whatever talks we have with other shareholders of BCL, only because the state is the second biggest shareholder,” Mr O’Neill said.

There would be no talks about reopening the mine, he said, “until landowners and the people of Bougainville are ready”.

It is understood the Momis government’s concern was aroused by information it had received that law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, which does a considerable amount of work for Rio internationally, had instructions to handle the sale of Rio’s shares, and had held discussions with agents in Port Moresby in relation to the deal. A Norton Rose Fulbright spokesman declined to comment when questioned by The Australian.

The BCL share price suddenly soared by 50 per cent a fortnight ago. The ASX issued a “speeding ticket”, asking the company to explain the leap. BCL said it couldn’t.

Mr Momis, whose government has recently passed new mining legislation that hands back control of all resources to landowners, said: “We cannot allow a new form of colonial dealings in Bougainville’s resources to occur.”

He said that last month he wrote to BCL, seeking advice from either it or Rio Tinto, about whether share transactions between Rio and PNG were under discussion or preparation.

“I received a brief reply from Rio, addressed to BCL but passed on to me, dated March 23. The letter simply stated that ‘Rio Tinto … is reviewing its options with respect to its stake in Bougainville Copper Ltd. This review is continuing’,” Mr Momis said.

“Secret dealings of this kind are completely unacceptable to the people of Bougainville,” he said. “It would be unacceptable to the people of Bougainville for the national government to try to take control of Panguna.” Such a move, he said, would trigger demands for immediate independence.

Peter Taylor, who has been chairman of BCL for 12 years, told The Australian “the Bougainville government seems to want the mine reopened, but we have to sit down … and see what’s doable”.

Bougainville Election News : 173,000 enrolled to vote in Bougainville elections

photoElections

By Aloysius Laukai

The Bougainville Electoral Commissioner, GEORGE MANU today announced the completion of the Bougainville Common role in preparation of polling that will commence on May 11th, 2015.

The Commissioner made this announcement in one of his weekly programs on NEW DAWN FM.

He praised the 2015 COMMON ROLL stating that they managed to register additional TWENTY THOUSAND eligible voters in the final roll making the final number registered to ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY THREE THOUSAND VOTERS.

MANU also announced that his office has been busy running trainings for the Electoral officials to make sure they are fully equipped for this election.

The Bougainville Electoral Commissioner also acknowledged the UN Electoral advisors for organizing training for the scrutineers.

And he called on the candidates to make sure they send some of the scrutineers for these free trainings so that they can go back and train their other scrutineers.

He said these free trainings will be organized in each of the three regions of Central, South and North Bougainville.

BALLOT PAPERS ON PRINT

Meanwhile the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner, GEORGE MANU has also announced that Ballot Papers for this elections were printed in AUSTRALIA and will be arriving in Buka next week.

He said as soon as they are in, they will be distributed to the three regional Electoral offices of Arawa, Buin and Buka. MANU said that these regional offices have been established to see the smooth distribution of ballot papers to polling boots.

He said he will make sure there is no shortage of ballot papers at any one polling location this time.MANU said that election materials such as Ballot Boxes will be arriving this week for distribution to the three distributing centres.

He said that all is set for the conducting of the 2015 ABG General elections

SAD DAY FOR THE PEOPLE OF KONNOU

The biggest constituency on Bougainville, KONNOU which is in the East coast of South Bougainville will again miss out in voting as they are not free to cast their votes in the 2015 ABG General elections.

Reports reaching New Dawn FM says that parts of Konnou that is from TABAGO Mission up to the mountain ranges have been banned for any campaign by the Commander of Meekamui in the area, DAMIAN KOIKE.

Despite these set backs the people in these areas have voted in other places other than their area in all the elections that Bougainville held after the conflict.

Reasons for the ban is not known but local chiefs are trying to negotiate with the Commander to allow the election process to be carried in these areas.

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 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.

    .