Referendum Roadshow underway

The Autonomous Bougainville Government’s Referendum Roadshow commenced yesterday in Central Bougainville as leaders gathered to address the people in the former capital of Arawa.

The Bougainville Referendum Roadshow is an initiative of the United Nations in conjunction with the ABG with the objective to meet with key stakeholders in the three regions of Bougainville.

The Roadshow will also give the leadership the opportunity to inform and engage with the people at the community level: this allows for information regarding the referendum, post referendum planning and related activities to be widely discussed.

This will all be underlined by the key message “Peace by peaceful means, Unity and Rule of Law”.

The key delegates in the Roadshow are ABG President Dr John Momis, Minister for Bougainville Affairs, William Samb, ABG Minister for Bougainville Peace Agreement Albert Punghau and the United Nations Resident Coordinator Gianluca Rampolla.

They were also accompanied by the ABG House of Representatives Speaker, Simon Pentanu, Commissioners of the Bougainville Referendum Commission as well as several leaders from Central Bougainville.

The Roadshow presented an opportune time for both the ABG and the National Government for extensive collaboration to address the upcoming referendum as well as preparing the people for the transitionary period after the October polls.

“Our focus is to ensure that our people are aware of the choices we as a people will make during the referendum vote,” President Momis said.

“We must understand the choices being offered; Greater Autonomy and Independence. What do these choices entail? They will be defined so that our people can make an informed choice.”

He said this must be done through a democratized manner where the process has integrity so that the quality of the referendum meets international best practice standards.

The Roadshow in Arawa gave the people as well as community groups and ex-combatants, such as the Core Group, an opportunity to actively participate in discussions with national and local leaders.

The Roadshow will be traveling to parts of South and North Bougainville culminating in the delegation addressing the Bougainville House of Representatives next week.

Press release