Referendum will be credible: Minister

The National Government is committed to ensuring the Bougainville Referendum process is credible and recognised internationally.

A Referendum Task Force will be set up post referendum to negotiate the process in ensuring the outcome of Bougainville’s future political status is credible.

Bougainville Affairs Minister, Sir Puka Temu, said: “We are committed to ensure the referendum process is credible; that the outcome will be recognised by international organisation like the UN as a credible outcome."

The next important phase now for the Minister for Bougainville Affairs is to establish a task force that will negotiate after the referendum result is announced.

“The process of both sides is they will negotiate the results before it is brought to parliament for ratification. So the most important phase as far as I am concerned is the process of the task force, their terms of reference and timeframe and the outcomes which they are able to achieve through peaceful means."

Sir Puka will oversee this important process.

“I will be bringing a paper in the next cabinet meeting to recommend the change in the composition of the task force. For our side it would be the selected minister of state, particularly the Attorney General who is now the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Treasury and Minister for Bougainville Affairs. I will also recommend some very senior citizens in the country rather than just MPs, so they will composite the task force.”

They will include senior citizens who are well vested with background of the Bougainville Peace Agreement, leading up to the referendum.               

Sally Pokiton