The National – Tuesday, February 15, 2011
By ELIZABETH VUVU
NEW Ireland has thrown its support behind Bougainville president John Momis in putting Waigani to task over its handling of Bougainville affairs and all important Bougainville peace agreement aligning autonomy and the question of referendum.
Responding to the statement by Momis last week, New Ireland deputy governor Florence Stocken said
the province was sympathetic to the struggle and frustration of Bougainville for lack of support and consistency from Waigani in the disbursement of powers and functions and the budget to implement them.
“Momis made bold statements signifying the mood of restlessness and questions in the minds of Bougainvilleans that deserve to be answered,” she said.
Stocken said the open challenge by Momis showed the national government’s failure to honour legally binding commitments it had made such as the Bougainville peace agreement between the national government and the Bougainville government and the Lihir memorandum of agreement with the New Ireland people.
“In view of the treatment New Ireland is getting from the national government, we fully support Bougainville independence as the way forward for the people of the autonomous region to determine their own future.”
She said the treatment given to the Bougainville people showed the national government could not be trusted and New Ireland has continuously signaled this scenario and would stand alongside Bougainville to seek maximum freedom to govern its people.
“In fact, the state gives more time and hearing to big foreign-owned and controlled companies like ExxonMobil, Lihir Gold, Ramu NiCo and forest industry players in a country of immense diversity and strong ethnicity differences,” the deputy governor said.