Weapons disposal program needed in Bougainville

A civic awareness and a complete weapons disposal program are some of the milestones needed in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville before the Referendum can take place in 2019.

Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on the Bougainville Referendum and Southern Highlands Governor, William Powi, said this today following a recent trip to the island.

Powi said both issues were key milestone activities that needed to be addressed before the referendum, which was a significant and historic moment for them, could take place.

He stated firstly that there was a lot of misconception about the referendum and a major awareness drive was needed to inform everyone in Bougainville.

“Awareness must take place throughout the length and breadth of the region.” “It’s a prerequisite requirement,” said Powi.

He also said a thorough weapons disposal program was needed as it was a key aspect of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

Powi said it was a big challenge but needed to be done quickly.

The reconciliation process is another milestone activity which Powi said needed to be done between the Bougainville people themselves, and with the Government.

“These are milestone activities that must take pace. We cannot ignore it because 2019 is not far off and this is going to affect us,” said Powi.

The issues will be raised in a comprehensive report, which will be tabled in Parliament before the 2017 General Elections.

Powi also thanked the people and the ARoB Government for hosting them in their province during the committees’ recent trip there. 

Cedric Patjole