By Tanya Lahies
President Grand Chief Dr John Momis has announced a new realignment of the ministry responsible for implementing the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
Momis said that the new ministry, which will be responsible for all referendum information, is the Ministry for the implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA) headed by the new minister, Albert Punghau.
Albert Punghau has replaced Patrick Nisira, who resigned in order to contest the national elections in Papua New Guinea.
The BPA- a joint creation between the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and the Government of Papua New Guinea (GoPNG) in August 30 2001- is still being ignored by the GoPNG as a peace winning solution during the Bougainville crisis.
Despite the countless efforts of the first and second governments of ARoB to gain a solid commitment from the GoPNG to fast implement key pillars of the BPA- Autonomy, Referendum and Good Governance- ABG still struggles with funding that is becoming an inevitable impediment.
Since the first government in 2005, ABG still has yet to draw down many more important powers from the national government.
“The peace agreement, as we already know, the national government has broken many times,” Momis said.
Regardless of the many challenges faced by ABG when confronting the national government to commit, Momis is calling for the people of Bougainville to follow the laws of the BPA and leave the final judgment to the peace building organization, the United Nations and the international communities to make their own assessment.
The key pillars of the BPA are Autonomy; Referendum; Weapons Disposal and Good Governance.
The PNG Constitution recognizes Bougainville as the only region in Papua New Guinea to have a government that has an autonomous power, making the region more powerful than the provincial governments.
The PNG Constitution also recognizes a Referendum to take place in the region. However, the United Nations has reported that the region is not ready for June 15, 2019 come the vote for Bougainville’s political future.
This was revealed by Momis, who confirmed that Bougainville was not ready but he is optimistic about the future and urged for every Bougainvillean to be ready.
Momis urged for weapons disposal to be effective before the referendum date . As the period becomes very sensitive, the President is calling for everyone to commit their lives and remove the weapons, proving they are moving ahead and working together in peace and unity.
“We are the only autonomous region of Papua New Guinea. That gives us a great advantage. The Constitution recognizes this… whether the current government recognizes this or not, it doesn’t matter.”
Momis also urged for ‘Good Governance’ to prevail and the rule of law be practiced and maintained.
It is the President’s dream to see the government return back to what it used to be like before when it was the North Solomon Provincial Government and a model government in the 1990s before the crisis.
ABG is still trying to set up a task force to clean up corruption, he added.
Momis reiterated that the outcome of the referendum would be a final negotiation between both governments, having in mind that peace and stability were essential for a successful outcome.
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