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July 26, 2021

Bougainville’s Path to Referendum

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There is no “if or buts” on the road to referendum for the Autonomous Region Government, referendum has to go ahead.

President of the ABG Dr John Momis made this known yesterday during a seminar organized by Bougainville’students of the University of Papua New Guinea.     

Dr Momis said this against the backdrop of plans to re-open the Paguna mine, but under renegotiated terms that suits landowners and the ABG.

The theme of the Seminar was “Gathering Intellectual Capacity for our Journey towards referendum.”

The sole reason for holding the seminar was for Bougainville’students wanting to create dialogue by reaching out to their leaders through open dialogue.

Present amidst President of the Autonomous region of Bougainville John Momis, were other political leaders including ABG Governor Joe Lera and former Bougainville Affairs Minister Sam Akoitai.

With the date to referendum quickly approaching around the corner, economic empowerment is at the top of the agenda. Without it, ultimate Independence is just a dream.

Chief John Momis explained the hard-line approach and conditions they’ve put forward to former developer of the now defunct Paguna Mine Rio Tinto, in no terms will landowners be left out in the negotiation process.

The actions they have taken against Rio Tinto, despite being threatened with law suits, illustrate that fact.

The other issue that will also determine a smooth transition is, if the weapons disposal program is successful. Currently, the situation is far from being handled.

Presentations by students were impressive;   their understanding of the Bougainville issue and recommendations gave hope to their leaders.

Carmelita Momoi a post Graduate student in organic chemistry recommended that Bougainville’set up a Research centre to develop the agricultural sector. She is currently working on a formula to safe guard cocoa from the dreaded Cocoa Pod Bora.

Business student Edward Misiliu gave some pointers on economic growth.   

While final year Law student Joshua Ku’usa gave a rundown of the legal frame works governing the ABG as well as recommending the setup of an Ombudsman Commission.

The students were challenged to continue with their awareness efforts in the lead up to referendum.

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