Speaking at the Central Bougainville Development Forum in Wakunai District, ABG President Chief Dr John Momis said the solidarity exemplified by Bougainville leaders must also be exercised by the people.
President Momis said he was impressed by the initiative by Central Bougainville MP, Sam Akoitai, in mobilising all development stakeholders in Central Bougainville to further development in the area.
“I agree with Mr Akoitai that there is no time for spectators; we must actively participate in developing Central Bougainville and Bougainville as a whole,” Momis stated.
“Bougainville stands on the threshold of an important period in our history. We are about to embark on an important journey to decide our ultimate political future.
“We as a people must assert ourselves through self-determination and that is by the process of the referendum, which is less than 8 months away.”
The President stated that the forum presents an opportune time for the bureaucracy as well as other development partners to present to Central Bougainvilleans a perspective on development initiatives on Bougainville.
He said the approach by the Member for Central Bougainville to ascertain and gauge the views of the Chiefs, women, community governments and district administrations would allow for effective service delivery.
He added that the forum will educate the people to make informed decisions as Bougainville progresses towards referendum.
“I congratulate the Member for Central Bougainville for taking the initiative to work with the ABG in an all-inclusive manner that gives the people the opportunity to actively participate in the development process.”
The collaboration between Bougainville’s leaders is a positive step in the region’s preparation for the referendum.
Presenting a unified front will ensure Bougainville’s drive toward the referendum meets the parameters of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
The approach adopted by Akoitai is aligned with the ABG’s prerogative on a bottom up approach to development on Bougainville.
(From left to right: Member for Central Bougainville, Sam Akoitai, ABG President Chief Dr John Momis and ABG Member for Kokoda, Rodney Osioko, being led to the opening of the forum recently)