Bougainville has created history today in officially swearing in the Bougainville Constitutional Planning Commission at Arawa, Central Bougainville.
The Commission consists of 40 members who take on the task of drafting a home-grown constitution for an independent sovereign state of Bougainville in the near future.
President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville Hon. Ishmael Toroama in delivering his key note address at the ceremony stressed that independence was Bougainville’s agenda and the Commission now has the important task of working together to create a constitution that reflects the dreams and aspirations of Bougainville.
“Independence is Bougainville’s agenda, not the National Government and as such we must work on creating a brand new constitution that captures the views and reflects the dreams and aspirations of all Bougainvilleans across the region,” Toroama said.
He added that the government and the Commission must set a benchmark so that the next generation of Bougainville will follow on what they create.
President Toroama heads the commission as the Chairman, Vice President Hon Patrick Nisira as Alternate Chairman whilst Attorney General and Minister for Law and Justice and Bougainville Independence Mission Hon. Ezekiel Masatt, is the deputy chairperson.
The commissioners were selected across all four regions of Bougainville from the Atolls/Nissan and North, Central and South Bougainville representing various stakeholders that include veterans, women, churches and youth.
Upon their swearing in today, the commissioners were challenged to represent the whole of Bougainville regardless of their stakeholder groups and regions.
Hon. Ezekiel Masatt called on the commissioners to put aside regionalism and stakeholder status and work together as a team to deliver this important task of drafting the constitution of an independent Bougainville.
“To be independent is a choice Bougainvilleans chose through the referendum and as a responsible government we have that responsibility to practicalise that decision and this Commission has a huge responsibility to ensure that we represent the whole of Bougainville regardless of what group we represent or what region we come from,” Hon. Masatt stressed.
“We voted because we wanted change and I appeal to all of us to be humble and work together to create this constitution for Bougainville,” he said.
The Commissioners were sworn in by the Senior Provincial Magistrate Bruce Tasikul and will be having their first meeting proper later this evening to discuss the work plan, terms of reference and timeline that will guide the commission.
It is anticipated that the commission should produce a draft constitution in the first quarter of 2025.
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