By MALUM NALU
The national government does not seem to be committed to the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA), according to Autonomous Region of Bougainville president, John Momis.
Speaking at a sustainability of Bougainville seminar at the Gateway Hotel on Thursday, Momis said the BPA was an agreement between the people of Bougainville and the government of PNG, and should be respected.
|Autonomous Region of Bougainville president, John Momis|
“So far, we have experienced that the national government doesn’t seem to be committed to the Bougainville Peace Agreement,” he said.
“I, as the leader of Bougainville, believe that the people of Bougainville deserve to have a real choice between two comparably attractive options, namely, full autonomy and independence.
“If autonomy is perceived as not comparable with independence, then the people have no choice.
“It is crucially important at this juncture, when Bougainville stands at the threshold of a new socio-economic order, that the partnership between the national government and the government of Bougainville must be at a level of total commitment and governments working to achieve a common outcome mutually beneficial to both parties.
‘It is difficult for a government which does not have the capacity.
‘Although we do not want to rest on our laurels, before the crisis, Bougainville had the best administration, Bougainville had the best provincial government, and I know because I was the minister for decentralisation.
“We don’t want to rest on our laurels but we want to make a point that when we are expected to do things as if we were, or in a similar situation as other provinces, I think it is a mistake to expect us to carry out huge responsibilities with meager resources, with a bureaucracy that does not have the capacity, and dealing with a government that does not seem to be committed to the principles of collaboration and partnership.”
“As well all know, Bougainville and Papua New Guinea must commit themselves to the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
“It cost us many lives, and it cost us time and money to reach this agreement, and we must be committed to ensuring that the outcomes are achieved according to the spirit of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.”
Momis said Bougainville was in a situation where it was required to deliver services to reconstruct and to deliver a new system of government.
“It is not easy when we don’t have adequate funding,” he said.
“Unlike other provinces, we are coming out of the ashes of war, dealing with a society that is highly-divided, which has fallen from being the premier province to Papua New Guinea, to now being at the bottom of the rung of society.
“So we certainly urge the national government and our own people to work in strict adherence to the spirit of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.”