By Meriba Tulo – EMTV News, Port Moresby
With the date for a referendum on Bougainville now set for October, the Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) has outlined its focus for the months ahead. BRC Chairman, Bertie Ahern, addressed the media on Saturday morning second of March, when providing an update of the BRC’s preparations towards the referendum.
Chairman of the Bougainville Referendum Commission, Bertie Ahern, spoke to the media to provide an update on the work of the BRC in preparation for the upcoming referendum.
On Friday, following the Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) Meeting, the National Government, and Autonomous Bougainville Government agreed to set the
date for the Referendum exercise – with October 12, 2019, agreed to as the Polling date.
According to Chairman Ahern, the confirmation of the referendum date – three months after the initial target date, is welcomed, as it provides much needed time for the BRC to prepare for this important exercise. Chairman Ahern also reiterated the five principles that the BRC would work within to ensure a successful referendum exercise.
With the confirmed date of the referendum, the BRC is now working on a plan – among these, voter registration, and awareness on for voters on Bougainville, as well as Bougainvilleans outside of Bougainville.
But similar to previous elections in PNG, funding remains an issue. However, with the recent announcement by the JSB that a component of much-needed funding will be received by the BRC in the coming weeks, the BRC is hopeful it can begin the necessary work needed before the Writs for the Referendum are Issued on August 16th this year.