Marape Calls For Clarity

Prime Minister James Marape has called for attention to the “silence” of the Constitution of PNG on secession and independence and the need for a wider consultation on Bougainville’s independence.

These two points underpinned his message as he called for a clearer Parliamentary pathway to allow for the continuation of dialogue on the processing of the Bougainville’s referendum results.

The Prime Minister was speaking on Tuesday when closing the Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) meeting in Wabag, Enga Province and the 2nd Joint Inter-Government Consultation.

“As far as constitutional provision is concerned, with regard to one part of the country becoming independent, the Constitution is silent,” Marape said.

“In fact, there is no provision for one part of our country to be independent. But, we have to recognize the peculiarity of Bougainville, and give recognition to the constitutional provision where the Bougainville Peace Agreement was borne out of.”

Mr Marape called for a wider consultation and awareness of the People of Papua New Guinea on this crucial matter as he said it involved the sovereignty of the country.

“Our country was secured at the back of consultation in the early 70s until 1975, when it became a sovereign state. To unbind the country as a sovereign state will require almost the same process,” he said.

“Mr President, I appreciate you understand this and that the signing today also puts in significant clauses that allows PNG to go out on consultation and awareness. Bougainvilleans will be invited to participate in this forum.”

The Wabag JSB consultation ended with a number of resolutions that allows for continued dialogue within the given timeframe as follows:

  • To continue to consult and develop clarity on establishing the constitutional and parliamentary pathway for the tabling of the results of the Referendum, the outcome of the consultation to give effect to the results of the Referendum and the pathway consequential to the outcome of the National Parliament decision;
  •  To take action necessary to process an endpoint which is the culmination of all the activities that flows from the constitutional amendments to give effect to the National Parliament decision;
  • To take action which are focused on the full implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement subject to the National Constitution, with a focus on completing outstanding tasks under the pillars of the Bougainville Peace Agreement, including the implementation of the Sharp Agreement to support the economic growth of Bougainville to ensure that Bougainville is in a position to effectively and efficiently manage its own economic affairs in preparation for a political settlement;
  • To allow the Government to undertake national consultations across PNG on the outcome of the Referendum, noting that constitutional amendments which would have been set in motion by the signing of this Statement will need to be enacted to give effect to Bougainville’s final political status; and
  • To determine a political settlement no earlier than 2025 and no later than 2027 guided by an agreed joint road map.
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Press Release