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Momis Given A True Bougainville Farewell

It was an atmosphere of celebration as Bougainvilleans gathered at the Bougainville House of Representatives to pay tribute and farewell Chief Dr John Momis.

President Ishmael Toroama, ABG Ministers, Members of the Bougainville House of Representatives, development partners, public servants and the general public were there to witness this event.

Tributes were given by Speaker of the Bougainville House of Representatives, Simon Pentanu, where he described the outgoing President as a great leader and man of value and principle who stood and fought for the people’s rights.

 “You have been the icon, the leader that has always stood out in this regard,” Pentanu said.

“You argued very eloquently, for and on behalf of Bougainville at the regional and international fora in many countries, speaking up for the desires and objectives for which we find ourselves here today.”

“You have trail blazed the idea to achieve the system of responsible government to give meaning to what political participation is really all about,” he said.

Dennis Sareke, a Chief from the Haku Constituency, who worked closely with Chief Momis in the earlier days of his political life, also paid his tribute today.

He spoke in comparison of the earlier days of Bougainville where people lived with respect for laws and authority, and respect for fellow Bougainvilleans and their properties, whereas today, Bougainville society struggles with issues of law and order, social issues and lack of respect.

He challenged the new government to address this and called on all the people to work with all leaders in government to bring Bougainville back to its former standard.

Chief Sareke led a traditional group from Haku and Halia Constituencies, where they accorded the outgoing President with a Chieftaincy title, and presented two pigs to mark their recognition of the outgoing President’s numerous contributions to Bougainville as a whole.

Chief Dr John Momis, in his speech described his life as ‘a story of diverse transitions’.

He reminisced on his earlier political days when we was elected to the pre-independence House of Assembly as PNG was transitioning to self-governance, and many other notable positions he held over the years of his political life.

He also reflected on the peace process on Bougainville, which he described as one of the most successful in the world today.

Momis said Bougainville is now at a critical turning point in determining its future.

“The result of the referendum shows how Bougainvilleans are coming together in regard to Bougainville’s political future,” he said.

“While Bougainville has made progress since peace was agreed almost twenty years ago, there is still much work to be done. Together, with other Bougainvilleans, I look to the recently elected government and parliament of Bougainville to honour and keep working to ensure that these important objectives are achieved.”

Momis also acknowledged President Toroama’s statement of seeking counsel from him as Bougainville moves ahead in its post-referendum journey, saying that he looks forward to receiving and giving close consideration to his further advice.

ABG President Ishmael Toroama, in response, thanked the outgoing President and called on the people of Bougainville to continue to work together with all leaders to ensure that Bougainville’s aspirations are achieved and peace is maintained on Bougainville.

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