Sir Peter commends referendum process


FORMER Madang MP Sir Peter Barter has commended the Bougainville referendum process.
Sir Peter, who is a former Minister for Health and Bougainville Affairs, said he had not made any public comments about the referendum but now that it had been completed and the choice of the people heard he was pleased about it.
“I have played low profile during independence elections (referendum), but I was confident they would vote for independence and I wish them all the success, equally important is the reconciliations that have taken place prior to the successfully run elections, this perhaps is more important than the end result,” he said.
Sir Peter said Bougainville would need to be economically independent in order to support its independence.
“My concern is that to be truly independent, they must be economically independent – Bougainville cannot assume that the generous international donors, including PNG, can or will continue into the future to support an independent Bougainville.
“It is now time for them to get very serious about the issue of mining, how best to re-open Panguna along with other resource development, this includes tourism, agriculture, livestock and create opportunities for downstream processing to add value to their raw resources.
“During my term as minister, I kept reminding them, ‘you cannot enjoy autonomy without an economy’.
My congratulations goes to President and Chief John Momis, James Tanis, the churches, women, factional leaders, Tony Regan, Ted Wolfers all who have played a pivotal role in achieving this result.”
Sir Peter also acknowledged those who had passed during the conflict and ensuing years of the peace and restoration.