BOUGAINVILLE President John Momis has alerted the Australian High Commission in Papua New Guinea to the activities of Jubilee Australia and renewed a demand that the NGO recant its report purporting to reflect the views of “mine affected communities” in the Panguna area.
Under pressure from Dr Momis, Jubilee Australia has already backed away from one major assertion by saying the Voices of Bougainville report “reflects the views only of the  people in the Panguna area who were consulted in the study.”
But it has not accepted other criticisms of the study’s preconceptions and methodology and refused to withdraw the report.
In a second letter this week, Dr Momis told the Jubilee board that he and his government took particular exception to its statement that his many earlier criticisms of the report were “without basis”.
He said that Jubilee’s response to criticism reflected “a pre-determined position” and “a determination to engage in advocacy rather than scientific research directed at establishing facts about the complex situation [around Panguna].”
While the Jubilee board had told Dr Momis it intended “no disrespect” to the ABG and landowner organisations, the President said it was his "considered view that Jubilee has in fact exhibited grave disrespect.”
Dr Momis pointed out that at least six significant issues raised in an earlier letter had been ignored by Jubilee, including “major factual errors and misrepresentations” about the continuing consultation process with mining-affected communities.
“Many of the errors reflect a view that resonates strongly with the particular view of Bougainville’s recent history held by [Dr Kristian] Lasslett and those involved in the Bismarck Ramu Group,” he said.
“While Jubilee may have found its partners in this research ‘highly professional’, they in fact have a track record of bias on issues concerning the history and the future of mining in Bougainville.”
Dr Momis went on to say that a claimed purpose of its research “was to document views of ‘a wide cross-section’ of the population.
“But it is very clear you did not do that, but rather, selected a narrow cross-section of views of a particular kind….
“The answer is to withdraw the current deceptive report and - if you wish to - publish an honest version of what you did and what it means.”
Dr Momis said opposition to mining is not a new topic among Bougainvilleans.
“I emphasise again that such views are well known and respected in Bougainville and are listened to and taken seriously by the ABG and the landowner organisations,” he said.
“The ABG is a representative government, like any government, required to make decisions on behalf of its people.
“We are dealing with a complex and difficult situation where peace is fragile, where many groups remain uncertain about the peace process, where there are numerous continuing divisions, and where complex interests are seeking to influence decision-making in Bougainville to their own benefit.
“Through its report, Jubilee has inserted itself into this difficult situation by releasing a deeply flawed report that adds to pressures contributing to complexity and divisions.
“In the process, you are damaging not only your own reputation as an NGO claiming to undertake ‘scientific research’, but also NGOs and researchers more generally.
“You might be surprised at just how upset many Bougainvilleans are about your report, and the divisiveness of such flawed work.”
Disclosure: Bougainville Copper Ltd is a client of Jackson PR Associates, of which the publisher of PNG Attitude is part owner