National reconciliation ceremony deferred

A national reconciliation ceremony, planned for June 15 between the Autonomous Bougainville Government and National Government, has been deferred.

Scheduled to be held on the same day as Bougainville day, the event has been moved to the first week of July.

A reconciliation ceremony between the National Government and its armed entities and the people of Bougainville and the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, planned for Saturday June 15 at Panguna, will now take place on the 2nd of July.

Minister for Bougainville Affairs, Sir Puka Temu, said the actual date will be confirmed once both the National Government and Autonomous Bougainville Government consult.

“But because of the political events that have transpired, I’m now the new Minister for Bougainville Affairs and having just come into the office, I decided that as minister responsible to defer the date,” he stated.

The ceremony is being planned to bring all parties involved in the conflict to come together and put their differences aside.

“And so on behalf our Prime Minister James Marape, I wish to apologise to our people in Bougainville and throughout the country, particularly those who were responsible for preparing for the national reconciliation program which was initially prepared for the 15th of June, I sincerely apologise for the deferment.”

The Minister for Bougainville Affairs flew to Arawa today to be part of the planned roadshow to participate in community awareness and other activities on Bougainville.

“I will be in Bougainville and on Saturday, which is the 15th of June, I have been invited by my counterpart in Bougainville to participate in the Bougainville day in Arawa.

“The reconciliation program was part of the package of making sure that we understand where we are coming from, we rebuild relationships and we establish a person to person understanding because there has been quite a lot of misleading information going out.”

Meanwhile, those in NCD are encouraged to register themselves on the referendum roll this Saturday, June 15, at Bougainville day at the Sir John Guise Stadium.

Issue of writs for the Bougainville Referendum will take place on August 16, before polling starts on 12 October.

(Minister for Bougainville Affairs, Sir Puka Temu)

Sally Pokiton