| Office of the President
BUKA - In his first Christmas message, Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama has urged Bougainvilleans to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and also to think about being ‘Independence Ready’ by taking responsibility.
“Whether it is at individual, family, clan, church, community, council of elders or other level, we all have a responsibility to be independence ready,” President Toroama said.
“When we talk about being independent, it is not just political independence we should have in mind but also being independent in the way we live our lives daily.
“We must maintain the spirit of independence or self-help that we have always known in our lives.
“We have always built our own classrooms, health centres, churches, feeder roads and so on. We have always worked on the land or sea to look after our families.
“All communities must be socially and economically independent through our own initiatives,” he said.
President Toroama said that Autonomous Bougainville Government officers have consulted with their Papua New Guinean counterparts and reached a good understanding of the pathway to addressing 2019’s the 98% vote for independence.
The president urged Bougainvilleans to take into account their responsibility to upholding the law and supporting the initiatives of the under-resourced Bougainville Police Service.
He said community leaders must support the government by maintaining social order in communities and stopping corruption.
President Toroama also mentioned that people must stop expecting handouts from the government or leaders as this often encourages the misuse of public funds.
He also revealed that in 2021 the government will develop and implement initiatives aimed at growing the Bougainville economy more quickly. These initiatives include increasing internal tax revenue.
The government will also look at establishing enterprises, such as gold marketing, with early revenue returns, reviewing and improving the government business arms.