Referendum agenda pushed

National

Bougainville President John Momis has written to Peter O’Neill, congratulating him on his re-election as the prime minister.
In his letter, Momis emphasised the need for continued cooperation and for the two governments to work together to address challenges.
The letter emphasised the need for close engagement in relation to the proposed Bougainville referendum and the importance of ensuring that autonomy arrangements work effectively.
The formation of the 10th parliament will play an important role in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville’s drive towards self-determination.
Bougainville’s referendum will be held during this term of parliament and it is important that preparations are done to ensure that the national government and the Bougainvillean government are ready for the task.
“It is equally important that Bougainville’s autonomy arrangements operate effectively as intended by the PNG Constitution,” Momis said.
“Among other things, this will be essential if Bougainvilleans are to have a real alternative to independence to consider when the referendum is held,” Momis stated.
Momis also outlined several concerns that should be addressed. They include outstanding funding from the Restoration and Development Grant that is needed for the autonomy arrangements to function and has the intervention of Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill on the issue.
Another issue that  Momis highlighted was the reconvening of the Joint Supervisory Body meeting as soon as possible.
The last JSB meeting was supposed to happen in March of this year but the meeting was deferred as the national government was preparing for the elections.
Before the JSB meeting, the governor-general is expected to sign the charter to establish the Bougainville Referendum Commission; officers from the two governments have been developing the draft Charter for some months now.
Momis revealed that the ABG has already given attention to the question of the persons that it will be nominate as members of the commission and hopes that national government side will also make its nomination by the time the JSB meets.
Another prominent issue that Momis hopes the prime minister will pay regard to is Bougainville Copper Limited shares divested by BCL to the national government in July 2016.
Momis said he was looking forward to be working closely with the Prime Minister and his ministers to implement the Bougainville
Peace Agreement and ensure that the people of Bougainville exercise their right to self-determination.

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