BOUGAINVILLE President John Momis has made a call for unity to Bougainvilleans as the autonomous region prepares to decide its political future through a referendum.
“Bougainvilleans must unite to peacefully implement the Bougainville Peace Agreement and the referendum and let it be a process of integrity,” Dr Momis said.
“Bougainvilleans are a highly-favoured people,” he said.
“Due to the Bougainville crisis it is only in Bougainville that we have the unique opportunity to develop a new socio-economic political order and determine our own political future.”
He said it was imperative that Bougainvilleans make an informed decision to determine their future and they must be prepared to except the consequences of their decision in the referendum.
“If we mess it up now, then we are bound to fail and not realise our aspirations,” he said.
“But if we follow through with the Bougainville Peace Agreement and respect the rule of law, promote good governance and accept responsibility for our actions, then we will be able to liberate ourselves.”
Dr Momis urged Bougainvilleans to embrace their core values that comprise the Christian and cultural principles that define Bougainville society and provide a strong foundation for the people.
“Our world view is one that not only ends here but extends to the future and onto the next life and it is one that looks toward creating a just society that empowers people and respects their dignity,” he said.
The referendum to determine Bougainville’s political future has been tentatively scheduled for 15 June 2019.
Meanwhile the ABG and the PNG national government remain at loggerheads over the O’Neill government’s continued delay in releasing funds owed to Bougainville.
The continued financial chokehold together with the recent fiasco surrounding Bougainville Copper shares has sown seeds of discontent and evoked strong nationalist feelings amongst Bougainvilleans.
The PNG government has even ceased work on a multi-million kina road sealing project on Bougainville as it prosecutes an informal policy of non-cooperation with the autonomous government.