By Fabian Hakalits – EM TV News, Port Moresby
It’s his first term in politics, but already he has proven his worth, as Bougainville Regional MP, in the National Government.
As an educationist, Joe Lera, had been at the forefront of service delivery, touching lives of people in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
When asked about his recent appointment, the new Minister is determined to fulfil his role in the short time before the National Election.
The newly sworn in State Minister is delighted, the Bougainville Affairs Ministry has been given to the Regional Member, who is elected and mandated by the people of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
This gives opportunity, for regional representation in decision making and acts as bridge between the National Government and the Autonomous Bougainville Government.
Mr Lera said Bougainville needs a full representation in politics to address many issues of hindrance leading to referendum.
“It has come to the right time, where now the Bougainville Regional Member, as a Minister as well, can rightfully become the center for Bougainville Affairs, and also become the mouthpiece for the total population,”
Lera’s first priorities as the State Minister is to look at the role of the Bougainville Affairs Office, to be more responsible and visit fighting factions, and to take part in the peace process.
These are complex issues because they deal specifically with people.
“Those will be my priorities, and also to relook at the role of the office of the Bougainville affairs. So that its more responsive to addressing the issues in Bougainville and not in Port Moresby,”
The National Coordination Office of the Bougainville Affairs, Director, John Avira, thanked the National Government for the confidence in the appointment of the regional MP.
“Minister, Lera has been working in Bougainville, so it’s a positive outlook going forward,” he said.
The new Bougainville Affairs Minister will meet with relevant authorities in the National and Autonomous Bougainville Government’s to move forward.