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April 14, 2021
Islands News

O’Neill Capable of Autonomous Region of Bougainville Affairs

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By Delly Waigeno – EM TV News, Port Moresby

Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, has assured the people of Bougainville that he will honour his commitments.

He made the comments yesterday following views that only a person from the autonomous region should hold the Minister for Bougainville Affairs portfolio.

Prime Minister O’Neill took over the ministerial responsibility for Bougainville Affairs while the previous minister, Steven Kama, attends to heath issues.

O’Neill explained that former Minister for Bougainville Affairs, Steven Kama, has been given lesser responsibility and time to attend to health matters.

Minister Kama has been given the portfolio Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Constitutional Matters.

 “He’s still a mandated leader, he’s still a minister for government and off course given timing of his recovery, we well then look at the possibility of giving the ministry back,” O’Neill said.

In the meantime, the Prime Minister assured the people that he is well acquainted with what is happening on Bougainville.

“I know of what commitments I have made in Bougainville. I will honour those commitments and that is why I have taken on the responsibility,” he said.

Regarding the Panguna Mine, O’Neill stressed again that all decisions remained with the people of Bougainville.

 “We are not going to open the mine in Panguna, unless the landowners and the people of Bougainville want us to do so,” the PM said.

The Prime Minister reaffirmed his commitment to the people of Bougainville, saying service delivery and infrastructure was his priority. He said the opening of hospitals, schools, airports and roads was proof of his commitment.

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