By Meriba Tulo – EMTV News, Port Moresby
A commitment to ensuring the credibility of the referendum process is the focus of the Bougainville Referendum Commission. In its recent awareness in Arawa, Buin and Buka this week, Members of the Commission, led by Chairman Bertie Ahern, provided an update on the BRC’s activities towards the referendum process.
The BRC embarked on an awareness drive in Arawa, Buin and Buka recently. Led by Chairman Bertie Ahern, the public sessions provided an opportunity for the Commissioners to get first-hand information from the people on their thoughts on the progress made by the BRC, and for the BRC to also provide an insight into their work in ensuring that preparations are on track for the upcoming Referendum – which has been scheduled to begin with the Issue of Writs in August, and Polling to commence on October 12th.
Given the importance of the referendum, the BRC has made it clear that its focus will be on ensuring that the referendum process is credible at all stages from voter registration, to verification, polling, and counting.
Given an influx in the high-number of Bougainvilleans who have registered so far, coupled with logistical challenges in the delivery of registration materials to several areas, the BRC has made it known that it may need an extension – to maintain credibility at this stage of the process. Whilst at the same time, reassuring Bougainville that the referendum process would be completed this year.
When speaking to EMTV News, Chief Referendum Officer, Mauricio Claudio, has reaffirmed the BRC’s position on the possible extension, highlighting the importance on ensuring that all stages of this important process are completed this year.
The CRO thanked development partners for their continued support to this important process for the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.