Momis disappointed with statement

President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Chief John Momis, is disappointed at the lack of knowledge some Papua New Guinean leaders have on the Bougainville Referendum.

Chief Momis had to verify claims by a former member of parliament, Daniel Tulapi, about the constitutionality of the Bougainville Referendum.

Momis in a statement said it is disturbing that at the eleventh hour, after nearly 20 years since the signing of the Bougainville Peace Agreement by the National Government, a former National Government minister is now making absurd claims that the referendum is somehow unconstitutional.

His comments follow claims on social media by former Member of the National Parliament, Tulapi, that changing the Constitution to allow for referendum was unconstitutional and an act of treason.

The head of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville Government explained that the PNG Parliament had a clear power to amend the Constitution, making way for the legal and peace resolution of Bougainville’s future political status.

He said in 2002, when Sir Mekere Morauta was Prime Minister, the National Parliament amended the Constitution to provide for the Bougainville Referendum.

Momis further clarified that the constitution does not provide for Bougainville to become independent. Rather it provides for Bougainville to have a referendum in which independence must be one of the choices offered.

The Constitution then requires the two governments to consult the results.

Momis appealed to national members to be informed of the facts ahead of the referendum.

He said false and misleading statements ignore the fact that the Bougainville Peace Agreement and the constitutional amendments that give effect to it, were joint creations of PNG and the combined Bougainville leadership.

He stressed that care is needed.


Charmaine Poriambep