By MALUM NALU
Constitutional lawyer and Bougainville expert, Anthony Regan, says no definite date has been set for a referendum on independence for Bougainville.
However, a referendum must be held in the five-year period from 2015-2020 as per the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA), he told a Bougainville seminar at the Gateway Hotel on Thursday.
Regan said there seemed to be a “lot of loss of memory” because of the high turnover on politicians and public servants in Papua New Guinea, and to a lesser extent on Bougainville.
“When it comes to things like the referendum, you have people saying the referendum’s going to be held in 2015 or 2016,” he said.
“Sorry, it’s probably not!
“It’s going to be held whenever Bougainville and the national government agree it’s going to be between 2015 and 2020.
“In addition, we have a lot of people on Bougainville who say the national government can stop the referendum if it’s not satisfied with weapons disposal, good governance.
“Sorry, the national government can’t!
“What the agreement says is that the period when the referendum must be held, which is five years from 2015, the date will be set taking into account weapons disposal and good governance.
“But it can’t go beyond 2020!
“No matter how bad weapons disposal is, no matter how bad good governance is, it can’t be delayed beyond 2020.”
The two-day seminar, with theme ‘Sustainability of Bougainville’, is organised by the Port Moresby Bougainville Association and continues today.
Generating economic revenue for the future was yesterday’s focus.