Nek Bilong Pipol


Bougainville: Respect
the choices made

This year is holding much more in store for us than we imagined it will be.
The most important exercise in the electoral history of this nation is looming in October when the people of Bougainville will determine their future status through a referendum.
The choices available are either to be an independent sovereign nation or remain part of Papua New Guinea under an autonomous arrangement.
The issue of self-determination for Bougainville is not an issue for Bougainvilleans alone but is it an issue every citizen of this country, including our Pacifica family, ought to know, feel and understand.
Everyone should understand our history, not from 1975 up, but right from the beginning in the 1500s when the Spaniard Alvaro Mendana de Mineira discovered and named the islands.
The French came later in the 1700s, thus the name of the main island is French.
Bougainvilleans are some of the most resilient people on the face of this planet and have a rich history dating back hundreds of years. Anywhere we live, we adapt, innovate and advance for we know that every generation must uplift the next while preserving and sustaining Mother Nature’s resources.
It is through our unbroken thousand-year creed of protecting Mother Nature that my fathers and brothers gave up everything worldly to defend Mother Earth with their lives.
That is all history now and I plead to all right-thinking PNG citizen to educate our brethren of Bougainville’s current situation so we can all understand it with our hearts and accept whatever decision the people of Bougainville make.
Whether they vote for independence or not is up to the citizens of Bougainville, for they shall to speak in the ballot during the referendum. Right now, negative sentiments and mistrust must not exist between anybody in this country.
Even if Bougainville gains independence, nothing will change in the people-to-people relationship we have carved out over the years as Melanesians. The only thing that will change is the political structure which will make us Two Nations but still One People, One Solwara.

Gerald Turumanu
Rainbow Estates, Moresby
United Bougainville Front

Bougainville: What are the options?

Allow me space to comment on the Bougainville Referendum issue as one of the ignorant citizens of Papua New Guinea.
I for one have not publicly seen any simplified version, in both English and Pidgin and on one sheet of paper in a tabulated format, of the implications, costs and benefits – short, medium and longer term – of greater autonomy versus complete independence in terms of the future relationship with PNG, the region and the rest of the world.
The gains, losses and risks that would come with each of the two options have to be made crystal clear to the people of Bougainville before they forego what is already guaranteed under PNG as freedom of movement and business connectivity by land, air and sea, and funding and international relationship.
On the PNG side, there is the greater risk of disintegration and disunity if greater autonomy fails for Bougainville.
But PNG also has a global political influence at certain level and any country that does business with Bougainville in the
future, depending on the outcome, will also be wary of that too.
So it’s all at stake and the price of peace has to be measured against the consequences of either options and the lessons that have been learnt from the experiences lived in other parts of the world.

Concerned citizen

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