I DO agree that provincial governors have the right to request from the national Government the type of political status they wish to have for the effective delivery of services to their people.
East New Britain, New Ireland and Enga have been granted autonomy by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
The national Government has granted this highest level of decision-making powers on a golden plate.
However, for Bougainvilleans, it was not that easy.
One may argue that autonomy for Bougainville differs from the level of autonomy granted to the three provinces. However, regardless of the level of decision-making powers, all these three provinces, like Bougainville, will be called autonomous regions.
This early granting of autonomy to ENB, NIP and Enga is an insult to the people of Bougainville.
For how long will the national Government make Bougainville a sacrificial lamb for the benefit of those who don’t suffer?
Look at the Lihir gold mine. New Ireland and the Lihir landowners, Porgera landowners and Enga can now be better compensated in terms of dues from mining operations as a result of the lessons learnt from the suffering experienced by the Panguna landowners and people of Bougainville.
Why can’t the prime minister wait until June next year when Bougainville conducts its referendum before deciding whether or not to grant autonomy to these three provinces.