I wish to take this opportunity to address the people of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea on the eve of the historic Bougainville Referendum.
Bougainville has come a long way in its journey for prosperous and meaningful peace since the conflict and today, we stand on the verge of a new socio-economic and political order.
This journey of Bougainville’s peace process has been a remarkably successful one. It has gained recognition around the world as one of the best processes in the last 25 years.
Throughout this journey, we have been guided by the Bougainville Peace Agreement. We have continued to abide by this jointly created contract that provides clear direction with respect to the referendum and the right of Bougainvilleans to express their view in a democratic manner on what our long term political future should be. This is enshrined in both the PNG and Bougainville Constitutions.
Just as we did when negotiating the Peace Agreement, the National Government and Bougainville now will have the rare privilege of developing something new.
The Autonomous Bougainville Government has done a lot to prepare our people for the referendum. We have worked hard to abide by and effectively implement the three pillars of the Bougainville Peace Agreement; autonomy, weapons disposal and referendum.
On the eve of the referendum, I call on all Bougainvilleans to continue to play our part. We must continue to stand united in peace. We continue to respect rule of law. We continue to fight corruption and welcome good governance.
We continue to define our own development plans while welcoming the support of the National Government and our international development partners to help implement them.
Through this period and beyond, the Bougainville Peace Agreement continues to be the light that guides us towards a weapons-free, peaceful, well-governed and self-determined future.
I want to remind us all that we are a resilient people who stand on an important juncture in our history. We are trailblazers forging a new path into the unknown with the sheer determination to face any challenge that comes our way.
We will face this together as one people and one voice to decide our ultimate political future that is within the confines of democratic values and international best practice standards.
But above all, let us continue to uphold peace for all time to come.
We are a highly favored people called by God to proclaim a new dispensation for peace and justice as we determine our ultimate political future.
May God bless us all and may God bless Bougainville!
Grand Chief Dr John Momis GCL, MHR
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