Bougainvillians need to be strategic in run-up to referendum: Mosono


BOUGAINVILLEANS need to be strategic and learn how other societies have gone about undertaking democratic exercises, says Vice-President Raymond Masono when welcoming the PNG National Research Institute (NRI) team to Bougainville last Friday.
The team was there to address the Bougainville government on the research activities they were doing to assist both national and Bougainville governments in the conduct of the upcoming Bougainville referendum.
“Right now Bougainville members are busy preparing their constituencies. We want them to disseminate factual and neutral information about the referendum to help people make an informed decision,” Masono said.
NRI research leader Dr Thomas Webster said they considered the Bougainville referendum to be a significant event that would impact both the people of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea.
“The future of Bougainville needs to be determined through a credible and informed process,” he said.
“Let’s not wait until the outcome, but let’s be prepared.”
He briefed the Bougainville parliament on the seven key studies to be undertaken, grouped into three areas. Two international experts from the National Research Institute presented their draft findings for the two referendum studies.
Prof Matt Qvortrup from Coventry University presented Referendum case studies comparing the Bougainville referendum with those held elsewhere, such as in Timor Leste and South Sudan, and what lessons could be learnt from those experiences.
Andrew Ellis presented Referendum Administration Issues highlighting the international standards and legal frameworks including administration of the referendum questions and voter registration.
Masono said the Bougainville Government had been looking forward to preparations being fast-tracked with the establishment of Bougainville Referendum Commission, but this had not happened.