Parlt receives B’ville affairs report

Chairman of the Parliamentary Bipartisan Committee on Bougainville Affairs, William Powi, presented their report to Parliament recently.

The committee comprising of MPs Joe Sungi, Jim Kas and Dr Allan Marat, travelled to the region in 2016 and 2017 to compile the report.

Its recommendations included:

  • A joint Papua New Guinea-Bougainville Forum should be convened in Bougainville so that some of the issues highlighted in the parliamentary Bipartisan Committee’s report are discussed as per the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
  • The National Government should work on modalities to assist with internal reconciliations and rehabilitation in Bougainville in ways that draw on local authorities, traditional and church leaders as well as eminent Bougainvilleans and other Papua New Guineans.
  • A national level reconciliation process should be organised between the PNGDF and Bougainvilleans.
  • The private sector should be encouraged to bring much-needed services, such as banking facilities, closer to the people.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill commended the committee for a job well done.

He said anything that happens on Bougainville will have huge consequences to the country.

He confirmed there is ongoing dialogue between officials and leaders of ABG and the PNG Government, which will lead onto the JSB meeting to be held next month.

The PM then relayed that the peace agreement clearly states that any deferment of the referendum will have to be approved by the ABG and the people of Bougainville. But the ratification of the outcome of the referendum solely rests with the PNG parliament.

“That particular issue and clause has got to be explained to the people of Bougainville. If this parliament does not ratify any outcomes of the referendum, we don’t want to create anxiety among our people,” said the PM.

Meredith Kuusa