“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.
“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.