Bougainvilleans urged to contribute

Bougainvilleans in Lae, Morobe Province, were excited to see their President, Ishmael Toroama. He was warmly welcomed by a singsing group from Butibam village on Saturday, June 15th, at the Lae Botanical Gardens.

The president was not only in Lae for the Bougainville Foundation Day, which was formerly known as ARoB Day, but mainly to host the second phase of consultations with the Bougainville Constitutional Planning Commission.

The consultations, which were to inform constituents of the first draft of Bougainville’s ‘homegrown constitution’, started in Port Moresby on Friday June 14th to Monday June 17th. For Lae, consultations started on Sunday, June 16th, and ended on Wednesday, June 19th.

President Toroama highlighted the need for all Bougainvilleans to read the first draft and contribute their opinions on what should be included in the ssecond draft of the constitution.

“Today, we are undergoing this process, a process where our past leadership were challenged when they advocated on behalf of the people of Bougainville,” he said.

“The challenge was, to compromise when Papua New Guinea got its independence. Bougainville stood firm and raised the first flag within the range of Papua New Guinea. The flag you see now, is one of the oldest flags which protects the entity of our people.”

Toroama further said the Bougainville Peace Agreement, which was signed by PNG and Bougainville on August 30th, 2001, has served as their guiding light ever since. Toroama said the agreement, with its three pillars of autonomy, weapons disposal and a referendum on Bougainville’s political status, has been followed to the latter.

“To this day, we have not overlooked any part of the Bougainville Peace Agreement,” he outlined. “We all stood firm and stayed in the framework of the Bougainville Peace Agreement. That’s why the people have voted. The constitution gives you the opportunity to vote, to decide your future.”

In the 2019 non-binding independence referendum, Bougainvilleans within Bougainville, across mainland PNG and abroad, voted 97.7 percent for independence.

President Toroama reminded them that they all have a responsibility to fulfill by contributing to the constitution, for an independent nation to be.

Loop Author