Where is the balance in the agreement?


I REFER to the letter “Economic power window lapsed” by Hia Tokunoi of Boroko (The National, Oct 4).
The writer argued that economic independence for Bougainville has lapsed and Prime Minister James Marape should only focus on the political independence for Bougainville.
The writer premised that advisors had not advised the PM well.
For all purposes of fairness, Marape should not leave any stones unturned.
My open advice to the prime minister, who is a son of a pastor, to consult the sovereign wisdom of God in this matter.
Hard questions should be asked and all stakeholders in PNG should sought tough answers for Bougainville’s issue in the best of PNG.
Bougainville’s referendum and independence should be considered in the best interest of PNG.
One of the questions that seem to have been rarely asked and answered is in relation to the terms and conditions of the 2001 Bougainville Peace Agreement.
We need to re-examine the peace agreement between Bougainville and PNG.
In any peace agreement between two conflicting parties, the peace agreement should be framed on the basis of either win-win situation, or win-lose situation for two of the conflicting parties.
The people of PNG need to know the terms and conditions of the peace agreement because a soldier, policemen, a CIS, civilian from the 21 provinces died in Bougainville while on national duties.
Of course, thousands of civilians, revolutionary fighters and resistance forces that fought alongside the PNGDF died as well.
By looking at the surface of the agreement, it appears to me that Bougainville Peace Agreement only served the interest of Bougainville and not PNG.
PNG appears to be disadvantaged in this agreement.
For example, in this agreement, Bougainville is given autonomy, then referendum (to vote for greater autonomy or independence).
Autonomy has been granted to Bougainville, now they are ready for a referendum.
So the question is, “What is PNG getting in this Bougainville Peace Agreement?
Those who negotiated on behalf of Bougainville done it tacitly and got everyone of their demands and they are agreed in the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
When I think about the Bougainville Peace Agreement, it is almost like at the end of World War II, where victorious nations Great Britain and USA set the terms and conditions for Japan and Germany.
In such cases, nature of peace agreement must be a win-win situation for both parties, without disadvantaging the other parties.

Rev. Pastor Mamando Pain,
Apostolic Church of PNG,
Mt Hagen

  • The Bougainville Peace Agreement has three pillars: Autonomy, Weapons Disposal, and Referendum.