“It will continue until the issue of writs for the Referendum and until the job is done,” says the Chief Referendum Officer, Mauricio Claudio.
“We will keep open beyond June 23 the three BRC regional centres in Buka, Arawa and Buin for voters yet to see their ward recorder,” he stated as phase two of the referendum enrolment process draws to a close.
“We congratulate all Bougainville ward recorders who have done the hard work of phase one and two – removing old or ineligible names off the 2015 election roll, and enrolling new voters in each ward.
“Thank you also to Bougainvilleans across the region who have been active in ensuring their name is on the roll and enrolling if not, including the hundreds who attended special regional enrolment stations at the BRC/OBEC offices in Buka, Arawa and Buin over the weekend.
“We know that because of logistic challenges, including getting to Atolls and remote communities, that some ward recorders are yet to complete their given task, which was to ensure all eligible voters in their Ward are enrolled. Their job is clear – they must keep working hard and quickly over the next few days until their job is done.”
Outside Bougainville and within Papua New Guinea, Bougainvilleans still have another eight days until Monday, July 1st, to visit their provincial PNG Electoral Office to enroll. On Bougainville, persons eligible to enroll can visit BRC regional centres in Buka, Arawa and Buin to enroll until the issue-of-writ date of August 16.
“The referendum timeline is short. We have until the issue of writs in 16 August which is the official close of enrolment, so the BRC cannot make late changes and extensions at this stage without affecting the quality of the roll, compromising the law or jeopardising the Referendum dates set by the two governments,” Claudio stressed.
Before the issue of writ, there will be a third phase of enrolment; a one-week public display of the preliminary Referendum Roll in each ward.
“Phase three will offer another chance to enrol. We will be doing mass awareness before then to tell people how this will work,” the Chief Referendum Officer assured. “People will have one last chance to check their name, correct misspellings and add their name if it’s still not on the preliminary Referendum Roll. This will happen early August.”
The Bougainville Referendum Commission will also enrol overseas Bougainvilleans living in four main population centres in the Solomon Islands and Australia.
“The Commission will be releasing enrolment information for Bougainvilleans living in Honiara and Gizo in the Solomon Islands, and in Brisbane and Cairns in Australia soon, and we are extremely pleased to be able to provide this opportunity to include Bougainvilleans living far and wide in the Referendum because we know their desire is strong.
“There has been a lot of misinformation on social media regarding the enrolment process – and this is to be expected for such a new and historic process conducted within very tight timelines according to laws, funds and resources – so please, go to the Bougainville Referendum Commission Facebook page, our website for the correct information, or contact your BRC awareness officer or ward recorder in each ward.”