The President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville Grand Chief Dr John Momis has congratulated the new Prime Minister Hon James Marape on taking office.
“I congratulate you most sincerely for your elevation to the Office of the Prime Minister. I wish you well as you take on the burden of that Office,” he said.
“Having observed the way in which you discharged your previous ministerial roles, I have no doubt that you will bring new vision and purpose to the role of Prime Minister,” he added.
“I look forward to working with you and your government in the important work required over the next six months as we prepare to hold a free and fair election of the referendum as it is required by the National Constitution that gives effect to the Bougainville Peace Agreement,” he said.
The Referendum preparations remains the primary focus of both the ABG and the National Government at this time. During the last Joint Supervisory Body Meeting in March 1, 2019 the Bougainville Referendum Commission after its evaluations made it known that the referendum polls would commence on 12 October, 2019 with the writs being issued on 16 August 2019.
The setting of the date of the Referendum polls implies to the nation that both governments are now seriously addressing the issue.
Despite this positive step we are still behind schedule to see this process through and to effectively implement it.
Other important issues of the referendum that must be progressed are;
- Discussions on the post referendum transitionary period and managing the outcome and maintaining peace immediately after the referendum.
- Referendum Security and the need for international observers.
- Outstanding legal matters and issues on the electoral process before and during the referendum.
- Second Autonomy Review
- Peace and Reconciliation
Another important issue is the Restoration and Development Grants and the Special Intervention Fund. The JSB reached a compromise that National Government projects currently in train offsets the K302 million arrears agreed to when leaders met in December 2017.
It was agreed that officials continue to engage on the RDG 2019 appropriation, subject to the independent advice on the formula and to seek the support of the United Nations to engage an Independent Expert to provide definitive advice on the formula that should apply. Read official speech here.
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