Gamato calls for referendum funding

Electoral Commissioner, Patilias Gamato, is calling on the governments of PNG and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville to assist them with funding so they can prepare well for the referendum.

Gamato said they have yet to receive funding despite the referendum being almost a year away.

There are key areas the Electoral Commission needs to address before the referendum.

Gamato said K20 million has been allocated under the 2018 National Budget for the purposes of preparing for the referendum however, they are yet to receive a toea.

He also called on the ABG for their support.

“I hope this message goes out to our leaders both in the National Government and the ABG, although we repeatedly advised them through their representatives on the BRTC (Bougainville Referendum Transitional Committee), I’m calling on them so they can make funding available so we can prepare properly for the Bougainville Referendum.

“It is the obligation of the two governments by the Organic Law,” said Gamato.

The Electoral Commissioner said the funding will go towards the establishment of the independent Bougainville Referenda Commission (BRC), logistics and voting kits and ballot papers.

The Bougainville Referendum Commission is the independent body tasked with carrying out the referendum.

Currently the Commission is working to fix the electoral roll for eligible voters, appoint voting districts in Bougainville and around the country.

“For any election or referendum, a credible election or outcome will depend on a credible roll.

“Secondly, is for us to identify the voting district. We’ve decided to have the constituents in Bougainville become voting districts, and there will be three counting centres.

“Apart from Bougainville we have to identify voting districts and declare them as voting districts so people living outside Bougainville can go and vote.”

Cedric Patjole