ABG President Dr John Momis made this statement during the final part of the week long Bougainville Referendum Roadshow in Buka Town.
“As your leader I urge you all to vote for option two and that is independence,” President Momis said.
“Having a result that presents a unified Bougainvillean choice gives Bougainville leaders the negotiating power to negotiate with the National Government.”
Momis reminded the people at the Roadshow that after the referendum, the result will still have to be ratified by the National Parliament as stipulated under the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
“If the National Parliament fails to ratify the result of the referendum then we still have the option of a negotiated outcome where both governments will collaborate to get the best outcome for the people of Bougainville,” President Momis said.
“This is our time to exercise our right to self-determination, it is our time to forge a new future for our children and the generations to come. Our civil polity must be built upon a strong national identity that adheres to freedom, tolerance and equality.
“While we embark on the final leg of our journey together there will be challenges. Challenges that we cannot ignore but must face with grit and perseverance to overcome them.
“In our journey to self-determination, permanent peace on Bougainville necessitates a credible outcome of the Referendum which in turn institutes stability within the government and the people of Bougainville.”
The United Nations in conjunction with the ABG has organised this Roadshow with the objective to meet with key stakeholders in the three regions of Bougainville.
It also gave the leadership the opportunity to inform and engage with the people at the community level, allowing for information regarding the referendum, post referendum planning and related activities to be widely discussed.
This was all underlined by the key message “Peace by peaceful means, Unity and Rule of Law”.