Thursday, September 12, 2019

PM Marape happy with Bougainville meeting

PM's Media

Prime Minister Hon James Marape says the Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) meeting on Buka Island in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB) has reached mutual resolutions from both sides.

He said this following the conclusion of the meeting at the ABG President Dr John Momis' official residence.

 Prime Minister Marape and President Dr John Momis signing the resolutions of the JSB meeting today in Buka.

“Today let me thank the leadership of Bougainville under President Dr John Momis, that the JSB meeting reached mutual and fruitful resolutions from both sides of the house," Marape said.

“One of the best resolutions, and of greater importance in my view,  is to devolve some of the functions and powers of running the affairs of the region and that is to generate their own revenue.

“The National Government mechanism has to support the ABG to ensure that they are self-sufficient in revenue generation.

“We have had political independence but what use it is when our people don’t have money in their pockets.

“People must have money in their pockets and be economically and financially independent.’’

Marape said the just concluded JSB meeting consolidated some of those understanding.

“We have also resolved and had reached a resolution on the issue like the RDG,  or the Bougainville Restoration and Development Grants,  that the n
National government had to pay Bougainville as per  the Bougainville Peace Agreement," he said.

“It is not about the figure of money but is it about trust and understanding in working together.

“We have now reached an understanding on how we have to calculate how much we,  the National Government,  have to pay and the understanding is that we have had a shortfall of some K81 million.

“An independent assessment was made and we have reached a resolution that, both sides affirm the independent assessment that we have to pay K81million since 2001 when the peace agreement was signed.

“That is why when the National Executive Council-NEC met yesterday in Buka,  it resolved that we will have to give a ceiling of K100million funding annually over a 10 year period.

“That is to catch up on lost grounds but more importantly,  to make up for the losses we have incurred and to bridge the divide where after the crisis services came to a stand-still.’’

Marape also assured President Dr Momis that the National Government would help the ABG.

“We are here to help your ABG and this JSB meeting in Buka confirms that we are referendum ready," he said.

“The referendum writs will be issued on Sept 27 and our Cabinet meeting has confirmed that date.

“Voting will take place on Nov 23 and the counting will take place and the results will be made known.

"There will be a period of 40 days for if any there are any disputes to be made.

“But what has really transpired in this JSB is that a greater Melanesian way of consensus was reached.

“That is after the referendum,  both sides will sit again and talk and see the result and this is the way we should go.

“I believe in the Melanesian way of leaders to sit down and talk and reach amicable results.

“The National Government leaders  came to Bougainville not like bosses visiting subordinates, but as equals to talk to equal people here on Bougainville and find an amicable solution.

“This afternoon we have signed a resolution that is amicable to both sides.

“This is one of the quickest JSB meetings.

"Both sides admitted there wasn’t much issue and we arrived at what we see was amicable on both sides."

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