PM, Momis to announce future


PRIME Minister James Marape and Bougainville President John Momis are expected to announce tomorrow at Arawa “the way forward” following the referendum.
Bougainville Affairs Minister Sir Puka Temu confirmed this yesterday after an overwhelming majority wanted independence for the island.
Marape is on his way to Buka after a stopover at New Ireland.
“Not the Government, not the Autonomous Bougainville Government, not outsiders, but the (national) Parliament (has) the final authority,” he said.
“So, as Minister for Bougainville Affairs, I will not present the result of the referendum announced today (in Bougainville) to Parliament until after consultation is concluded.
“I want everyone to accept that and know that. I want all of us to continue to observe the laws that have governed the Bougainville Peace Agreement.”
Marape has made a commitment that budget support will continue for Bougainville while the consultation process is going on.
“Therefore the restoration grant has been secured in the 2020 budget,” Sir Puka said.
He congratulated everyone involved in the referendum yesterday in Buka, reminding the people that peace was an ongoing process, “not the end game”.
He said the first duty he undertook as minister this year was top “build the bridges between our two governments, to make sure the relationship was secured”.
“We have actually advanced the relationship between the two governments at a very critical time,” he said.
“And one of the concerns that we both had was whether the outcome would be a credible one. And I want to say that the result is a credible one.”
Sir Puka thanked the Australian Government, the New Zealand government, the United Nations, European Union and “friends” for their support.