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Issue of referendum writ marks start of process

President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville has called on the people to be responsible to ensure that the peace agreement is achieved as Bougainville prepares for the polls.

Speaking at the presentation of the Bougainville Referendum Writs in Arawa yesterday, Hon Chief Dr John Momis reminded the people it was an opportunity now for Bougainvilleans to determine their future political status through the referendum.

“Today we stand on a threshold for a new Bougainville, we stand at the door of a new dawn that we will create. Let us grab the opportunity and run with it but be responsible,” he said.

President Momis reiterated that after the vote, the final outcome must be agreed to by the two governments through consultation and negotiations.  

Prime Minister Hon James Marape also shared similar sentiments assuring the people of Bougainville that the National Government will ensure that the Bougainville Peace Agreement is achieved.

“I come to honour the spirit and the effect of the Bougainville Peace Agreement to the fullest and we will stand with you every step of the way and the final outcome must be satisfying to us all,” Mr Marape said.

Hon Marape was present to witness the brief but significant event together with the President.

According to the Chief Referendum Officer Mr Mauricio Claudio, the presentation of the writs was to officially commend the Referendum Returning Officer Mr John Sisiesi and his team of polling officials to take charge of the polling.

In a moving statement, Mr Mauricio revealed that it was through hard work and determination that the writs have been issued and it was now up to the people to decide for themselves what they had been fighting for.

Upon receiving the writs, Mr Sisiesi assured both governments and the people of Bougainville that he and his team of polling officials will ensure to complete the polling as expected of them.

“I thank you all, especially the two governments, the command and the instructions laid out in this writs will be carried out and all those that worked hard to prepare for this, I am confident that myself and the 34 returning officers will deliver a credible referendum as expected,” Mr Sisiesi said.

The Bougainville Referendum Writs were issued at the Government House last Friday and the presentation of the Writs in Arawa yesterday was witnessed by over a thousand people at the Independence Park.

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