The National- Thursday, February 10, 2011
I read your editorial “Treading on dangerous grounds” (Feb 8) with interest and the report “Panguna leaders warn Momis” regarding the sensitive issue of reopening the now mothballed BCL’s Panguna copper mine.
I had prophesied back in 1988 that John Momis and Francis Ona were “prophets of doom” who incited the people of Bougainville to take up arms against BCL and the national government to vent their grievances over royalty payments and other spinoff benefits and to resort to sabotage of the mine and taking up of arms against legitimate rule of law.
Today, this is all history, and if there’s anyone to be blamed for all the upheavals that culminated to what it is today, it should be squarely placed on no one else but Momis himself, the ABG president.
This is because this leader is the very person who incited the people of Bougainville to rise up against BCL and the national government by calling BCL the “wild boar” who raided and destroyed the people’s garden (land).
Following his recent election as ABG president, he is once more in this game by negotiating with the PNG government and/or other would be interested partners to reopen the mine and leaving out the landowner leaders of Panguna from participating in direct and renewed negotiations of shareholding structures, etc.
It is obvious from the outset that Bougainville is again heading for a collision course since the six landowner groups who made their stand known that they do not want anyone else beside BCL to return whilst Momis is leaning towards China to operate the mine, as he recently took a delegation to visit China as part of his campaign to gain support from members of his ABG cabinet.
I must say that the Bougainville crisis had been an eye opener for many people except one particular thing; the people have failed to elect someone with a real vision to lead Bougainville to new level of nation-building, nationhood and prosperity for its citizens who suffered for last 23 years.
Instead they have entrusted their future to this sombre leadership!
Momis, please take heed of the people’s sensitivity and do not tread on the live wires!