Celebrations started yesterday (Friday) in Buka Town and continued today, coinciding with the East New Britain (ENB) Day where hundreds of Tolais who live and work in Bougainville staged various cultural activities.
At the main Hutjena Oval in Buka Town where the twin celebrations were held, there was excitement, unity and peace as the Tolais and Bougainvilleans put on their cultural shows.
Vice-president of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), Raymond Masono, said Bougainvilleans had a unique relationship with the National Government and the people of East New Britain.
“Bougainville is still part of PNG and we should be proud of the achievements in the past 42 years of independence.
“Whatever the outcome is on the June 15, 2019 Referendum, our relationship with PNG is vital. And for East New Britain, it will be always a gateway to Papua New Guinea,” Masono said.
He pointed out that Bougainville politics was intertwined with the early political history of the nation - in that, the people of Bougainville had declared a failed bid to the United Nations for self-determination on 1st September 1975, two weeks before the country gained Independence on 16th of September, 1975.
With the people of East New Britain, Masono said Bougainvilleans had a unique relationship through marriages and also during the height of the Bougainville Conflict in 1990, a temporary Bougainville Administration was set up in Rabaul to coordinate government services to Bougainville.
He thanked the leaders and people of ENB for their invaluable support and hospitality.
Masono also said as citizens of this beautiful nation, every individual must work hard and contribute meaningfully to the future prosperity of our people.