I refer to the Media Release dated 13 February 2020, signed by Richard Pagen, the Acting Chief Ombudsman and Kevin Kepore.
The Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) acknowledges that the Bougainville Constitution and all laws made by the House of Representatives (HoR) in accordance with the Bougainville Constitution are part of the laws of Papua New Guinea.
The ABG also acknowledges the stated purpose of the Ombudsman Commission in the media release.
The ABG comments and advises as follows:
- It is noted that your concerns in the media release were not brought to the attention of the ABG and HoR in the first instance.
- Your reference to Section 345 in the National Constitution asserting that the HoR is proposing to have provisions of Part XIV of the National Constitution amended. There is no proposed laws by the ABG to amend any provision of Part XIV of the National Constitution either in the HoR (or in the National Parliament) hence, the assertion is misconceived and without any foundation.
- In relation to the proposal to “an amendment to the provision of the Bougainville Constitution which provides for the establishment of three seats for former combatants”, there is no longer a provision in the Bougainville Constitution for three sears for former combatants in the HoR. The provision for the three seats ceased at the conclusion of the recently held Bougainville Referendum on 10th December 2019 when the writs for the Referendum were returned to the Governor General, pursuant to section 55(5) of the Bougainville Constitution.
- In relation to the claim that there is a proposed law to change the name from Autonomous Bougainville Government to Bougainville Constitutional Transitional Government, there is no such proposed law.
- The proposed laws to amend the Bougainville Constitution are before the HoR and they are in relation to:
(a) The Membership of the representatives of former combatants in the HoR, section 55 of the Bougainville Constitution; and
(b) The election of the President, section 89 of the Bougainville Constitution.
- The ABG is complying with the process of altering the Constitution, pursuant to section 219 (MAKING OF ALTERATIONS TO THIS CONSTITUTION) of the Bougainville Constitution.
- Your media release has the potential of sending wrong signals to the public that the ABG and the HoR are on a path of not complying with the National Constitution when that is not the case and in any event, is denied strenuously.
For the foregoing reasons, it is requested that the media release be retracted immediately.
Hon. Grand Chief Dr John L. Momis, GCL, MHR
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