Bougainville Referendum Commission

Application open for interest group, scrutineers

The Organic Law[1] defines an Interested Party as the Government of Papua New Guinea, the Autonomous Bougainville Government and Recognised Interest Groups. Only these Interested Parties can nominate scrutineers for the Bougainville Referendum.

Nearly 1,000 officers paid in full: BRC

The August 27th briefing in Buka for Northern Region officers marked the last leg of engagement with all AROs, who are the administrative staff responsible for planning and administering referendum field operations.

In his opening remarks, Chief Referendum Officer Mauricio Claudio thanked all officials, acknowledging the honour to be involved in such an historic event.

Upbeat report on referendum preparations

Commissioner Patrick Nisira and Chief Referendum Officer, Mauricio Claudio, told Members that the Commission was on track to deliver polling, commencing 23 November, and called on their assistance to deliver clear and simple messages about the upcoming public display of the Preliminary Roll.

Face-to-face enrolment complete

It is now data processing to prepare the preliminary referendum roll for public display in September.

In six centres across Bougainville, teams of local data processing officers are entering information from the completed and checked enrolment forms and annotated working rolls to prepare the Preliminary Referendum Roll.

Extra time to produce better roll

“We will use these precious few weeks wisely, and we ask for public support to make this Referendum Roll as inclusive as possible and one that people can trust,” Ahern said.

On August 2nd, the two governments of Papua New Guinea and Bougainville formally announced a six-week extension to create a more credible referendum roll, and encouraged Bougainvilleans to use the time to make sure they were enrolled. The revised dates are as follows:

• 27 September: Issue of Writs

• 23 November: Polling begins

Groups invited to observe referendum

Chief Referendum Officer Mauricio Claudio said observer groups provide a critical role in the democratic process by observing whether the conduct of polling and counting is free and fair according to international standards.

“We encourage the participation of local, national and international groups in the referendum, to observe the process, and provide their independent report of polling and counting so that the referendum process is seen as a credible one by all involved,” Claudio said.

BRC happy with referendum preparations

BRC Commissioner and former National Research Institute (NRI) Director, Dr Thomas Webster, said so far the preparations are going well towards the referendum.

He admitted that few logistical issues will be ironed out and BRC is committed in making sure they deliver a successful referendum.

The referendum roll-out exercise must be completed before the issue of writs on August 12.

Dr Webster said given the circumstances and other challenges, the BRC is happy with the overall outcome of the roll update.

BRC chairman visits Bougainville

Ahern is accompanied by BRC Commissioners Dr Thomas Webster, George Manuhu, Patrick Nisira, Robert Igare, Ruby Mirinka and the Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato.

He will be visiting Arawa, Buin and Buka constituencies.

The Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) is now progressing with the third phase of updating the Referendum Roll in Bougainville.

This exercise is part of the three-phase enrolment plan that BRC will be undertaking to update and finalise the roll in preparation for the upcoming Referendum.

BRC takes enrolment to remote PNG

Chief Referendum Officer, Mauricio Claudio, said it had identified large groups of Bougainvilleans up to 1,000 living and working at remote areas who have been unable to reach their provincial PNG Electoral Office, but were eligible to enrol.

The Commission has identified Lihir Island; Ramu, Madang; Ok Tedi Town and Porgera as the four largest communities it had the resources to reach.

“Bougainvilleans living in these areas, despite their remoteness, are strongly engaged in the referendum,” Claudio said.

Enrolment extended for those outside B’ville

Chief Referendum Officer, Mauricio Claudio, said high voter turnout and delays in delivering enrolment forms to the more remote provinces meant more time was needed to make sure every eligible Bougainvillean had the chance to enrol.

“We have been delighted by the response of Bougainvilleans, both in Bougainville and outside Bougainville, who have never enrolled to vote in an election before, now putting their name on the referendum roll,” Claudio said.