Somare calls for wise, calm decision

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GRAND Chief Sir Michael Somare has urged Bougainvileans to vote wisely from tomorrow in the referendum which will decide their future.
“For many Papua New Guineans, (in) Bougainville and elsewhere in our beautiful country, the act of the referendum represents a sad event in our history following the gaining of full independence for the nation in 1975,” he said in a statement.

Maggie Tsidaori from Lower Siangnari Ward, South Nasioi, Central Bougainville, finishing house to house polling and scrutiny awareness as part of the Bougainville Referendum Commission voter information programme. – Picture courtesy of BRC

The two-week polling begins tomorrow (Nov 23) and ends on Dec 7. The return of writs is scheduled for Dec 20.
The voters will pick one of two options: Greater Autonomy or Independence.
“As the founding prime minister of this nation, I call on the people of Bougainville to be guided by their inner wisdom in the vote for independence or full autonomy for Bougainville,” he said.
“This is the outcome of the peace agreement that was signed to formally end the Bougainville conflict, to restore peace to the nation and to forge new pathways for improved prosperity and living conditions for our people.
“The Bougainville conflict was the price we paid for issues that were never satisfactorily addressed in relation to the Bougainville copper mine.
“The mine was a key source of revenue for the government and people of this country for many years.
“Unfortunately, there was much concern, particularly in Bougainville, that the benefits of mining were not being shared in an equitable way.”
He said the problem “continues to confront leaders of this nation to this day, as can be seen with unresolved issues (at the) Porgera gold mine and the PNG LNG Project”.
“As the founding father who has visited some of the remotest parts of our country in every province, I am keenly aware of the disparities that exist and continue to be inadequately addressed by national, provincial and local level governments,” he said.
“As Bougainvilleans make their voices heard in the referendum, it is my hope that PNG remains united and free in the aftermath of this historic poll.”
He said the country had remained united for more than 40 years which was an achievement in itself.
“So it with heavy hearts that the rest of our country awaits the decision that the people of Bougainville will be taking in the next couple of days.”

12 comments

  • Praise God, the people of ARB will now decide their future. They like all other people in each province that has a gold mine or LNG gas have been deprived, denied, knowingly, willingly and deliberately by leaders who were voted in to Parliament to help them. Instead, these elected leaders decided to divide and rule and be very greedy with revenue from mineral resources and LNG gas. Instead of siding with landowners, they side with foreign developer. The result is this crisis, breakaways etc. My prediction is that many more provinces will go down the track of breaking away. Let it be, due to evil leaders governing us.

  • Referendum is important message for us all – Leaders: politicians, public servants, senior citizens and young & old. There must be a limit to greed and thief of common wealth. Get what is due and use what is given. Avoid abuse of power and accessibility. Bougainville has spoken very clearly the minds of ordinary PNG: all is not right. Ignorance is prevalent and due care for the common wealth for the common people is non-existent.
    TO my country man and women in Bougainville: Independence is not a choice but a greater or greatest autonomy is a wise choice.

  • Truly I feel great pain in me while reading Grand Chiefs commentary. All hope that the Bougaunvelleans vote for Greater Autonomy in the referendum to be conducted.

  • I just its about time they get their Independence.
    They shed the blood for their rights that was suppressed by the National Government and the weak mining laws.

    Let them get independence so they can benefit through their minerals with a new and better mining laws and constitution.

    I won’t be surprised when I see them better off in Economy, Politics and Education.

    God bless Bougainville.
    God bless Papua New Guinea

  • I strongly believed in God intervention if God is on their side they can vote for Independence. God alone will help them become financial independence. Like PNG we got politically Independence without economically independence and now we are still struggling to become economically independence. Do it still ok for either of them.

  • Our God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ we pray this morning for the people of Bougainville, You have chosen them to be Bougainvilleans before You greated the universe. Papa God give them the wisdom, knowledge n understanding by the power of your Holy Spirit n deciding their future. God help the people of Bougainville.

  • It is definitely a big decision that will affect the people of AROB and it’s future generation.
    There is no right or wrong decision here. No one knows what the future holds to say which decision is right/wrong. Only time will tell.
    Whatever the outcome, hopefully it works well in AROBians favour.
    Wishing you well as you vote and all the best in what the future holds, whatever the outcome of the vote.

    Cheers

  • I won’t be surprised, if Bougainville breaks away from PNG, she will struggle to stand on her legs. You need PNG for continued growth. Having said that, I do not mean to tell you to remain with PNG. I have had a fair number of time traveling Bougainville wide and I know and have seen how capable the people are in running their own country. It will take more than 49 years to live a self sustained life, or else you come running to mama PNG and the rest of the developed country for help to run your country and the story goes back to ground zero again. As you all know, when foreign assistance comes in, it is usually comes with hidden strings attached. And how do you run your country independently with such strings all the best in your voting.

  • If they choose Independences, then I feel heartbroken.

    I’ve been thinking about that for sometimes and can’t control my tears knowing that I have extended immediate families over there.

    Frankly, it will be a very sad moment to those who will let go their Melanesian brothers and sisters once who were part of this Great Nation – PNG while at the same time it will be a joy of tears to those who are ready to be free.

    May our Heavenly Father Bless us all and Guild us through going forward

  • He said the problem “continues to confront leaders of this nation to this day, as can be seen with unresolved issues (at the) Porgera gold mine and the PNG LNG Project”.
    I liked the way Somare avoided the Ramu Nickle Project. The next Bougainville on the list. This venture is about the worst arrangement outside of Nigeria for poisoning and polluting people and environment, and they pay no taxes !!!!

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