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Vice President’s Statement on Tulele Peisa

The Vice President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and Member for Atolls in the Bougainville House of Representatives, Hon Raymond Masono disputed an article attributed to Tulele Peisa titled ‘Tulele Peisa takes lead to serve Carteret Islanders’, which appeared on Monday’s Post Courier (PC 22/5/17).

The article implies that the ABG is doing nothing to address the plight of those most affected by climate change; such implications could not be farther from the truth. Tulele Peisa is a local NGO that has been operating in Bougainville since 2006, soliciting funds in the name of Carteret Islanders to serve the interests of a very few people.

“If a genealogy of the five families currently resettled on Tinputz Mission Land were to be conducted, it will reveal that the families are relatives of the Executive Director in one way or the other. So to boast that Tulele Peisa is taking the lead to serve Carteret Islanders is misleading”, Mr Masono said.

There are also allegations that the resettlement site is run and operated more as a detention centre (for asylum seekers) than a resettlement. Settlers cannot leave the site without getting permission from the bossmeri and anyone who does obtain permission to leave the site must return within a certain period or face suspension for periods of up to six months at any one time. No ‘outsiders’, Carteret Islanders in particular, are allowed to enter the resettlement site without the approval of the bossmeri.

 “I call on the relevant government departments to investigate the operations of Tulele Peisa Inc. and if those allegations are substantiated, to have the NGO deregistered. Allegations that funds obtained in the name of the Islanders are being used to run a private school in Arawa and a cocoa buying and exporting business must also be investigated”, Mr Masono added.

Addressing the effects of climate change as Tulele Peisa claims to be doing, is not only about resettlement of displaced persons.

 “What about the majority of Islanders who are not related to the Executive Director of Tulele Peisa and are still on the islands?” asked Mr Masono. “These are the majority whose plight the ABG are trying to address in a holistic manner through the establishment of the Bougainville Climate Change Office (BCCO).”

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