By Delorese Talasi
IT was an emotional day for Bougainvilleans when the results of the referendum showed most people were in favour of independence.
Bougainville women’s rep and proud mother Gertrude Gaunara said she was emotional when the results were announced.
“I was watching it live on my phone. It was an emotional moment for me. I had tears of joy as I watched,” she said. “I have so much gratitude to the people who have contributed one way or the other to make this day happen for Bougainville.”
She remembers the days she used to leave her young son, now a teenager, behind to negotiate for peace with other women.
Gaunara said unity was what held Bougainvilleans together.
“A big thank you to the silent majority who have contributed immensely in bringing peace and normalcy in their areas and villages during the peak of the Bougainville crisis. Our names may have never been mentioned but you bore peace that has become a reality today,” she said.
Bougainvillean lecturer at the University of Technology Junior Tumare said it was a great relief “after a long and treacherous journey”.
“We applaud the great effort and commitment put together by various stake-holders and the international community in achieving this lifelong dream,” he said. “This is however just a beginning into finally devising a pathway forward to Bougainville’s desire of self-government.”
He called on the two governments to come up with a framework that is conducive to achieving the ideals of political self-determination once and for all.