By Anthony Kaybing in Buka
Bougainvilleans have been urged to present a unified front in casting their votes when the Autonomous Region of Bougainville goes to the polls for the referendum on its political future in October.
“As your leader I urge you all to vote for option two and that is independence,” President John Momis said during the final stage of the week-long Bougainville referendum roadshow.
“Having a result that presents a unified Bougainvillean choice gives our leaders the power to negotiate with the national government,” Dr Momis said.
He reminded the people that after the referendum the result would still have to be ratified by the PNG Parliament as stipulated under the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
“If the national parliament fails to ratify the result of the referendum then we still have the option of a negotiated outcome where both governments will collaborate to get the best outcome for the people of Bougainville,” he said.
“This is our time to exercise our right to self-determination, it is our time to forge a new future for our children and the generations to come.
“Our civil polity must be built upon a strong national identity that adheres to freedom, tolerance and equality,” Dr Momis said.
“While we embark on the final leg of our journey together there will be challenges. Challenges that we cannot ignore but must face with grit and perseverance.
“In our journey to self-determination, permanent peace on Bougainville necessitates a credible outcome of the referendum.”