EMTV News report on the call for unity.
By Aloysius Laukai in Buka
The Autonomous Bougainville Government president, Chief Dr John Momis, has called on the people of the region to unite in spite of their differences with the future status of Bougainville at stake in next year’s referendum.
In his New Year message to the people of Bougainville, President Momis said Bougainville had progressed despite the national government’s failure to fulfill the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
He said that the peace agreement was a joint creation of the Papua New Guinea government and the ABG and the two governments must work together to implement it.
President Momis said despite this Bougainville had continued to move forward with policies and laws that would enable the ABG to operate in the future.
With the Bougainville mining law and the approval of exploration licences for three local joint venture companies, the government had started getting some money to support the autonomous government.
Momis praised PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and his cabinet members and the ABG delegation for agreeing to speed up development issues in 2018.
He said that the national government had agreed to complete the Buka ring road sealing, Kokopau to Arawa road upgrading and sealing, the Arawa to Buin road sealing in 2018.
President Momis also announced that the national government would finally fund the Siara to Koripovi road that has been neglected for a long time.
He said the West Coast of Bougainville was one economical road that the government had not looked into in a long time.
In response to a recent parliamentary question, Chief Momis said a committee would be set up in the New Year to look into recommending a location to establish the Bougainville headquarters for.
He said there was a need for the government to approve a location quickly as building everywhere could be a very expensive exercise.
President Momis also said he would like development to be distributed in all districts so that the presence of government services can be felt by the people of Bougainville.
If the headquarter was in one location, then other major economic activities could be done in other areas.
Aloysius Laukai is editor of Bougainville New Dawn FM’s radio.