Bougainville Feed

The ‘wicked problem’ of B'ville independence

An independent Bougainville will be an impoverished mini-state lacking the economic foundation to be much more than a subsistence-based economy, although there may be wealth creation opportunities around mining and tourism

Bougainville fighters  1997
Bougainville Revolutionary Army fighters in 1997 with World War II weapons recovered from the jungle. The 10-year civil war saw the BRA repel PNG police and military forces at terrible cost before a peace treaty was agreed

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – Poor Richard Marles. Australia’s deputy prime minister and defence minister had merely stated his support for Papua New Guinea as it moved through the thorny issue of Bougainville independence.

The general statement of support for PNG attributed to him was pretty much all he could say.

Continue reading "The ‘wicked problem’ of B'ville independence" »


Rivers threatening the villages of Panguna

 

River

LEONARD FONG ROKA

PANGUNA - Sometime in 2017 or 2018 I wrote an article for the PNG Post-Courier office at Arawa warning people that the Panguna mine pit could turn into a lake.

Twenty years of earth being chipped away by small scale alluvial gold operations had brought the Kabarong river perilously close to breaching the pit wall.

Continue reading "Rivers threatening the villages of Panguna" »


Marles' words anger Bougainville president

“The Australian government trained and armed the PNGDF to wage war on the citizens of Bougainville and it was they who supplied gunships to wreak havoc and mayhem on Bougainville” - Ishmael Toroama

Richard Marles at a press conference earlier in 2022
'Words are bullets in foreign relations.' Richard Marles at an earlier press conference in Japan in June 2022 (Shuji Kagiyama, Reuters)

 BAL KAMA
| East Asia Forum

CANBERRA - The relationship between Australia and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville is in repair mode following remarks by Australia’s deputy prime minister and defence minister Richard Marles.

Marles visited Papua New Guinea in October for negotiations over an Australia–PNG defence treaty.

Continue reading "Marles' words anger Bougainville president" »


Francesca’s mission to empower the needy

 

Semoso top
Participants in the Bougainville-UNDP Entrepreneurship and Innovation Course

NEWS DESK
| United Nations Development Program (UNDP)

PORT MORESBY - Francesca Semoso has made it her business to empower Bougainville’s women and youth to develop their entrepreneurship and good ideas by using simple resources in their communities.

Francesca is a revered and legendary female leader from the coconut fringed beaches and crystal-clear waters of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

Continue reading "Francesca’s mission to empower the needy" »


Bougainville is heading the same way as PNG

We live in a neo-liberal system that greatly benefits the few while harming the many who live in increasing poverty. It allows foreign companies to exploit and an elite to flourish while it subjugates the ordinary people by imposing limits on how they can benefit from development. It is a system that is unsustainable

Buka passage
The Buka passage (Pinterest)

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - It’s wonderful to read Leonard Fong Roka’s words about his beloved Bougainville once again. His is a voice that deserves to be heard.

Earlier this week, he drew attention to the grievous failure of Papua New Guinea's ruling elites to deliver anything of real substance to the people who elected them to govern (‘Independence? Can We Get There From Here?’).

Continue reading "Bougainville is heading the same way as PNG" »


Independence? Can we get there from here?

The problem is not too few resources, a small population, a lack of investor confidence or some other excuse the politicians use to cover their incompetence. The problem is poor leadership

Bougainville

LEONARD FONG ROKA

PANGUNA - Bougainville is a small island with enough resources for its population and we should be able to deliver good lives to ourselves.

Sure, there’s the crisis of global warming to harm her, but this is a world crisis which we do not face alone.

Continue reading "Independence? Can we get there from here?" »


Marles reignites B'ville suspicions of Australia

The angry reaction of Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama to what he termed Richard Marles’ “veiled threats” should be a warning to Canberra about the need to settle past grievances

Bville toroama
President Ishmael Toroama - suspicious of Australian motives

ANTHONY REGAN
| The Interpreter | Lowy Institute

CANBERRA - During a visit last month to Papua New Guinea by Australia’s deputy prime minister and defence minister Richard Marles, a newspaper report on one of his press conference answers sparked a stinging reaction from Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama.

In response to the 13 October article, ‘Aust backs PNG on B’ville’, including a comment from Marles that “our job is to support Papua New Guinea and that’s what we are going to do”, Toroama issued an “angry” statement, warning that Marles was making “veiled threats”.

Continue reading "Marles reignites B'ville suspicions of Australia" »


Bougainville’s nation-building goes off track

The government is telling the world about our forthcoming independence while in practice inviting foreigners to take over our available resources and turn Bougainvilleans into beggars

Village track (Jeremy Weate)

LEONARD FONG ROKA

PANGUNA - From childhood and into maturity most Bougainvilleans have being subjected by our elders to the word ‘Independence’.

Especially around Panguna in Central Bougainville, my own mama graun, we grew up with all the associated politics of our island forcefully seeking to become a nation in its own right.

Continue reading "Bougainville’s nation-building goes off track" »


Bougainville is becoming a poor copy of PNG

The PNG-Bougainville leadership and citizens were designed to be tax and rent collectors, not owners of natural resources. That is why we seem to value foreigners

LEONARD FONG ROKA

PANGUNA - In Bougainville we live our lives listening to the sweet talk of the elected members of parliament in Port Moresby and here in Buka.

It’s the same old parley, and still the same old suffering that seems to get worse every day.

Continue reading "Bougainville is becoming a poor copy of PNG" »


B’ville signals tough line on independence

In the last 100 years we have had to endure hardships from oppressive regimes who sought to take away our resources, our rights and even our lives. Our struggle for independence has been a long one

lupari himata
Former PNG chief secretary Isaac Lupari and Bougainville chief secretary Shadrach Himata

SHADRACH HIMATA
| Chief Secretary, Bougainville Government | Edited extracts

CANBERRA -In 2019 a referendum was successfully conducted on Bougainville to decide on the status of our political future in accordance with the PNG Constitution.

An overwhelming 97.7% of our people voted for a political independence from Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "B’ville signals tough line on independence" »


BRA was the root of a bloody civil conflict

When the Bougainville Revolutionary Army succeeded in routing the PNG police and military from Bougainville in 1988, the BRA turned their violence upon Bougainvilleans they believed to be enemies or just ‘easy pickings’

Leonard Roka
The young Leonard Fong Roka and torture scar picked up in a refugee camp during the Bougainville civil war. When still a schoolboy, Leonard was deployed to serve in the bodyguard of Joseph Kabui, later president of the Autonomous Bougainville Government

LEONARD FONG ROKA
| From Our Archive, 23 September 2012

MADANG – In October 1992 I was a kid roaming around parts of the Kieta and the Bana districts in South Bougainville with Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA).

I was a member of the ‘A’ Company bodyguard unit.

Continue reading "BRA was the root of a bloody civil conflict" »


B’ville looks to its international relations

As an emerging Pacific Island state, Bougainville will work towards building mutual government relationships that will enhance trust, trade and investment

Bougainville Vice-President-Patrick-Nisira

"As we reach out to the international frontier, our focus must be on growing the Bougainville economy and attaining fiscal self-reliance" - Bougainville vice-president Patrick Nisira

NEWS DESK
| Bougainville News

BUKA - The Autonomous Bougainville Government continues to make headway with its strategy to make practical the people’s 97.7% vote for Independence in 2019.

The Bougainville Independence Mission, launched by president Ishmael Toroama in April 2021, marked the beginning of the implementation of a Trident Strategy to prepare Bougainville for independence.

Continue reading "B’ville looks to its international relations" »


Does B'ville need a new anti-corruption law?

In 17 years since the first Autonomous Bougainville Government was formed there has been little practical action to utilise the powers to hold political and bureaucratic leaders to account

Jn top
Joseph Nobatau found himself targeted as he sought to bring senior Bougainville leaders to account. He lost his influential job as chief secretary, but was later completely exonerated by the courts

JOSEPH NOBETAU

BUKA - Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama recently announced his government’s intention to enact a new anti-corruption law. 

The president, who campaigned on a platform of eliminating corruption, has since his election advocated for reform and should be commended for his focus on corruption.

Continue reading "Does B'ville need a new anti-corruption law?" »


Reports highlight risks from Panguna mine

“Every day we worry about levees collapsing on us, about rivers full of mine waste flooding our land and villages and about whether the water we drink and wash with is making us sick” - Theonila Roka Matbob MP

A Theonila Roka
"We urgently need Rio Tinto to do what’s right and deal with the disaster they have left behind” - Theonila Matbob MP

NEWS DESK
| Bougainville News

Link here for the report, Panguna Mine Environmental & Human Rights
Link here for the report After the Mine: Living with Rio Tinto’s deadly legacy

BUKA - An independent report reviewing data on Rio Tinto's former Panguna mine has warned of serious risks to local communities from unstable mine infrastructure and flooding caused by the build-up of mine waste in rivers.

The report, produced by global environmental firm Tetra Tech Coffey, is a preparatory desktop study on the mine which will inform an environmental and human rights impact assessment later this year.

Continue reading "Reports highlight risks from Panguna mine" »


Bougainville says no to independence consultation

The autonomous Bougainville government said ratification of the 2019 referendum on independence will be done by the national parliament and doesn't require PNG citizens to be further consulted

Bougainville parliament sign (The Bougainvillean)

NEWS DESK
| Radio New Zealand

AUCKLAND - The Bougainville government has rejected a call from the Papua New Guinea government to hold for a nationwide consultation on the Bougainville independence referendum.

PNG prime minister James Marape proposed the consultation earlier this month.

Continue reading "Bougainville says no to independence consultation" »


A colonial construct about to be sorely tested

Papua New Guinea’s parliament operates more as a collection of loosely affiliated Mafia mob bosses than a genuine democratic institution

PNG-National-Parliament

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - China, tribalism, corruption and a province that wants to be its own nation pose a prickly pathway for Papua New Guinea over the next few years.

The desire of Bougainvilleans for independence is not going to dissipate on the basis of a deal concocted by Port Moresby to give the province autonomous status within PNG - an offer that falls well short of expectations.

Continue reading "A colonial construct about to be sorely tested" »


Bougainville: James Marape's biggest issue

Bougainville’s dire need for foreign aid could render it vulnerable to China’s influence as it struggles to become the world’s newest democracy — and it could also become the target of Beijing’s strategic aims

Bougainville-scene

BRIAN HARDING & CAMILLA POHLE-ANDERSON
| United States Institute of Peace | Edited extracts

Link here to the complete articleThe Next Five Years Are Crucial for Bougainville’s Independence Bid

WASHINGTON DC - Now that Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape has been re-elected, the stage is set for him to settle what he has called the biggest issue facing the country.

This is the future political status of Bougainville, an autonomous region seeking independence by 2027.

Continue reading "Bougainville: James Marape's biggest issue" »


A Kiap’s Chronicle: 33 – Development & dislocation

“In mining, hard facts and foresight are important. We are very conscious of the fact that in a few years, Papua and New Guinea may be independent. Soon there may be an indigenous administration – call it a black president if you like"

Brown 09

Arawa headman Narug and other village leaders Monoerung Tavore (wearing glasses) and Kori (in hat) listen as kiap Max Heggen explains the Arawa Agreement under which villagers would forfeit a tract of land to allow a large town to be built to service the Panguna mine. Brown describes Narug as a tough negotiator but "thoughtful and reasonable."

BILL BROWN MBE

THE CHRONICLE CONTINUES – Bougainville District Commissioner Des (DN) Ashton paid the price for obeying orders at Rorovana when the Papua New Guinea Administration removed his authority over Bougainville Copper's areas of operation.

Following Australian Prime Minister John Gorton’s August intervention in the Rorovana confrontation, the Administration committed a special unit of a dozen kiaps to the mining operation.

Continue reading "A Kiap’s Chronicle: 33 – Development & dislocation" »


Revisiting Hahalis: Cult or flawed crusade?

'John Teosin was a complex personality and an enormously deep thinker. He was ahead of his time in many ways. Among the living dead, John Teosin shan’t be forgotten'

Hahalis headline

COMPILED & EDITED BY KEITH JACKSON
| With some useful references from Dr Robin Hide

NOOSA - The John Teosin Highway (aka the Buka ring road) connects villages along the east coast of Buka Island with Bougainville’s commercial and administrative centre, Buka Town.

The ring road plays a vital role in people’s lives as well as moving them from one place to another.

Continue reading "Revisiting Hahalis: Cult or flawed crusade?" »


The unseemly scramble for B'ville resources

Panguna mine, derelict for 32 years following the outbreak of a 10-year civil war, becomes the main target of an ugly race for Bougainville's wealth

Boug Bougainville rebels guard the Panguna mine site  1996 (Encyclopaedia of New Zealand)
Bougainville rebels watch over the Panguna mine site (Encyclopaedia of New Zealand)

JUBILEE AUSTRALIA

Scramble for resources: The international race for Bougainville’s mineral wealth, Jubilee Australia Research Centre, Sydney NSW, June 2022, 44 pages. Free download here

Former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd:Scramble for Resources shines a much-needed light on the practices of the new waves of mining and exploration companies in Bougainville. Given the sheer number of Australian companies involved in this stampede for Bougainville’s resources, and the consequences for people living on the island, its findings should cause Australians to sit up and take notice”

Continue reading "The unseemly scramble for B'ville resources" »


Out of Pandora’s box: the Panguna paradox

When Bougainville people sense a threat, or get the notion they might be dispossessed of land, they will fight and protect it with their lives if they have to

Pentanu pic
"Let us ensure our agreements hold because if we do the same thing over and over and expect a different result, our hopes will collapse like the benches around the mine pit"

SIMON PENTANU MP
| Bougainville News

KIETA - The benches that wound around the Panguna mine were a conspicuous feature of the humungous pit are still visible but either collapsing because of erosion by slow-seeping water or perhaps just tired of lying around with no purpose.

The pit is a massive ‘dingkung’ (hole) on Bougainville’s landscape; it is also a massive statement that people are capable of gutting the Earth’s resources and leaving the land wasted and torn when the riches have been extracted and shipped away.

Continue reading "Out of Pandora’s box: the Panguna paradox" »


A 50-year old tape takes me back

Dial of a Hallicrafters SX-99
Dial of a Hallicrafters SX-99 shortwave radio receiver

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – It had dropped into my Twitter feed via @Laselki, the account of the Lebanon-based Arab Amateur Radio Network, and @Stret_Pasin, a valued supporter and one of my 8,700 Twitter followers.

It had originated in Ontario, Canada, from the historic village of Ancaster close by the US border and Niagara Falls.

It was a fleeting recording of a shortwave broadcast.

Continue reading "A 50-year old tape takes me back" »


Covenant shows way forward for Bville

Special JSB meeting endorses Era Kone Covenant
Ishmael Toroama and James Marape sit at the top table as the PNG and Bougainville governments move a step closer to determining Bougainville independence

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – The Papua New Guinea and Bougainville governments endorsed the Era Kone Covenant at a special meeting of their joint supervisory body in Port Moresby on Friday.

And Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama has spoken of his “moral responsibility to the people of Bougainville to ensure political independence is granted to Bougainville”.

Continue reading "Covenant shows way forward for Bville" »


A Kiap’s Chronicle: 32 - A prime ministerial intervention

woman resists rorovana
Woman resists police during the confrontation at Rorovana, 1969 (Sydney Sun)

BILL BROWN MBE

THE CHRONICLE CONTINUES - On 28 July 1969, Australia’s minister for external territories Charles CE (Ceb) Barnes approved the issue of CRA’s three new Bougainville leases.

The terminology that defined the locations of the areas required was particular.

They were “leases for mining purposes” and the area was “approximately 400 acres of Rorovana land for laydown areas, construction camp and general accommodation …. 194 acres south of Willys Knob for aggregate, and the first section—approximately eight miles—of the east coast road.”

Continue reading "A Kiap’s Chronicle: 32 - A prime ministerial intervention" »


Bougainville: PNG’s very wicked policy problem

CHRIS OVERLAND

A independence demoADELAIDE – In his thoughtful exposition, ‘What should we do with Bougainville’, Joe Ketan neatly outlines what is described as a 'wicked' policy problem, meaning one for which there is no good solution.

It is abundantly clear that, if Bougainville's demand for independence is not acceded to by the Papua New Guinean parliament, it is likely a unilateral declaration of independence will be declared by an angry and frustrated Autonomous Bougainville Government.

Continue reading "Bougainville: PNG’s very wicked policy problem" »


What should we do with Bougainville?

Ketan - ANU Observers in Bougainville
The ANU-UPNG Bougainville referendum observer team in Central Bougainville, November 2019

JOE KETAN

PORT MORESBY - In November 2019, the voters of Bougainville turned out and voted overwhelmingly for independence at a referendum expressly giving them the opportunity to have a say on their political future of their island.

I was in Bougainville for the referendum as a member of the Australian National University’s accredited international and domestic observer team.

Continue reading "What should we do with Bougainville?" »


Bougainville's bold step to defend integrity

Ishmael-Toroama (ABG)
Ishmael Toroama - Proposal to give politicians greater control over public servants failed (ABG)

JOSEPH NOBETAU
| DevPolicy Blog | Edited

BUKA - I have previously written about my concerns with proposals by the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) to remove provisions in the Bougainville constitution which protect the independence of the public service.

In this article of March 2021 (‘Good governance in Bougainville is being undermined), I wrote of proposed amendments to give politicians control over the appointment, assessment and discipline of senior public servants, matters independent of political control.

Continue reading "Bougainville's bold step to defend integrity" »


Put rights before resources: Toroama

Ishmael Toroama
President Ishmael Toroama - Bougainville constitution must put 'rights before resources'

NEWS DESK
| Radio New Zealand

AUCKLAND - Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama has said the autonomous province needs a strong constitution guaranteeing the civil rights of its people.

Bougainville’s Constitution Planning Commission, comprising people representing different walks of life from throughout Bougainville, is about to begin work.

Continue reading "Put rights before resources: Toroama" »


Landowners & ABG agree to reopen Panguna

Bougainville Toroama
President Toroama - Decision of the five clans the "beginning of a new chapter to realise Bougainville’s independence"

KEITH JACKSON

BUKA –In a major development, landowners from the Panguna mine area and the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) have agreed to re-open the Panguna mine, abandoned after a civil war broke out in 1989.

The mine is one of the world’s largest copper and gold deposits with an estimated remaining resource of copper, gold and silver valued at more than K200 billion.

Continue reading "Landowners & ABG agree to reopen Panguna" »


A Kiap’s Chronicle: 31 - Propaganda & confrontation

Brown MapBILL BROWN MBE

THE CHRONICLE CONTINUES - The Bougainville operations of Conzinc Rio Tinto Australia (CRA) had dominated Australian government and Territory Administration thinking from 1964, but that all changed in September 1968.

The trigger was a report by the Australian Broadcasting Commission that broadcast details of a meeting hosted in Port Moresby by two Bougainville members of the House of Assembly, Paul Lapun and Donatus Mola.

Continue reading "A Kiap’s Chronicle: 31 - Propaganda & confrontation" »


Death of Sam Akoitai: MP for all occasions

Sam Akoitai
Sam Akoitai - "A peacemaker serving all parties, political persuasions and interests"

SIMON PENTANU

KIETA – Sam Akoitai was a man true to his convictions as a national leader representing the interests of Papua New Guinea and Bougainville as a national parliamentarian.

He was a national, regional and community leader of unwavering courage and a peacemaker serving all parties, political persuasions and interests.

Continue reading "Death of Sam Akoitai: MP for all occasions" »


Joseph Watawi, Bougainville leader, dies at 61

Joseph-Watawi
Joseph Watawi - ‘Bruk lus, bruk gut, bruk steret na bruk olgeta’ 

ANDREW KILVERT
| Sydney Morning Herald

SYDNEY - The autonomous region of Bougainville has lost a champion of independence and the father of the 2018 independence referendum.

Joseph Watawi, 61, who died in November, away last month, was born in January 1960 in Gohi village in north Bougainville.

Continue reading "Joseph Watawi, Bougainville leader, dies at 61" »


'Let our people go,' Toroama tells Marape

Marape Toroama
Ishmael Toroama (right) has told James Marape that PNG has not honoured commitments under the 20-year old Bougainville Peace Agreement

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Bougainville’s president Ishmael Toroama has told Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape “in no uncertain terms” that it is the resolve of the Bougainville people for an independent Bougainville.”

In a statement to the Bougainville parliament on Tuesday, Toroama said he had “made it clear that it was time to let our people go to be free as an independent sovereign nation.

Continue reading "'Let our people go,' Toroama tells Marape" »


Death of Bougainville patriot Reuben Siara

Reuben Siara
Reuben Siara - "We remember him for his patriotism and his will to progress the ideals of our revolutionary cause"

ISHMAEL TOROAMA
| President, Autonomous Region of Bougainville

Source: New Dawn FM News

BUKA - Bougainville has truly lost one of its great sons in the passing of Reuben Siara.

Reuben was a man who believed in Bougainville’s aspirations for independence and contributed immensely to our revolutionary cause.

Continue reading "Death of Bougainville patriot Reuben Siara" »


Theonila recognised for holding Rio to account

Theonila
Theonila Matbob - "Our work will continue until Rio Tinto has fully dealt with the disaster it left behind”

NEWS DESK
| Human Rights Law Centre

SYDNEY – Bougainville’s education minister Theonila Roka Matbob MP has won an important award for her outstanding work to hold Rio Tinto to account for the devastating effects of its mining in the island’s Panguna region.

Theonila, a traditional landowner and community leader from Makosi, downstream from the mine, received the Gwynne Skinner Human Rights Award.

Continue reading "Theonila recognised for holding Rio to account" »


‘Ophir’: B’ville’s epic struggle for freedom

Alexandre Berman and Olivier Pollet
Filmmakers Alexandre Berman and Olivier Pollet - "Ophir is an evocative re-telling of the Bougainville conflict and its legacy over the past two decades"

CATHERINE WILSON
| Pacific Journalism Review

Ophir: Decolonize. Revolutionize, directed by Alexandre Berman and Olivier Pollet. Arsam International/Fourth World Films/Ulster University. 2020. 97 minutes. Link here to read and see more about 'Ophir'

CANBERRA - In Ophir, a feature length documentary film about the Bougainville civil war of 1989-1998, French filmmakers Alexandre Berman and Olivier Pollet analyse the devastating conflict and under-reported repercussions which continue to reverberate in the region today.

Ophir in the Old Testament (Genesis 10; 1 Kings 10:22) is a land of great mineral wealth exploited by King Solomon.

In eastern Papua New Guinea, the people of Bougainville also claim Ophir to be the original name of their remote islands.

Continue reading "‘Ophir’: B’ville’s epic struggle for freedom" »


Journalism Review roars back to life

Bougainvillean woman in a still from Ophir
Bougainvillean woman in a still from 'Ophir',  a controversial documentary about the island's struggle against mining and for independence

KEITH JACKSON

AUCKLAND – ‘Pacific Journalism Review: Te Koakoa, a peer-reviewed journal examining media issues and communication in the South Pacific, Asia-Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, has made a welcome return to publication after an enforced absence.

Founded by academic and journalist Dr David Robie in 1994 at the University of Papua New Guinea, it was later published at the University of the South Pacific and from 2007-2020 by the Pacific Media Centre at Auckland University of Technology.

Continue reading "Journalism Review roars back to life" »


Tetchy Bougainville leaders told ‘don’t panic’

Marape toroama
James Marape and Ishmael Toroama - bold statements from Bougainville on independence seem to have given way to a more nuanced approach

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Discussions about Bougainville inside Papua New Guinea’s parliament have had a significant and disgruntled repercussion in the autonomous province itself, NBC Bougainville has reported.

Prime minister James Marape presented a statement on the Bougainville peace process to the national parliament and opened the topic for debate amongst MPs.

Continue reading "Tetchy Bougainville leaders told ‘don’t panic’" »


What it is we truly value

Site of the Porgera gold mine in Enga Province (Porgera Joint Venture)
Site of the Porgera gold mine in Enga Province (Porgera Joint Venture)

SIMON PENTANU

KIETA - I visited Enga Province for the first time in early July this year for a meeting between the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the Papua New Guinea National Government.

The meeting was one of a number to consult on the outcome of the Bougainville referendum on independence that showed a huge majority of Bougainvilleans favouring the creation of their own nation.

Continue reading "What it is we truly value" »


Marape: Bougainville independence ‘biggest issue’

James Marape
James Marape - The question of Bougainville independence is more challenging than Covid-19, the economy or any other issue

NEWS DESK
| Radio New Zealand

AUCKLAND – Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape says the possible independence of Bougainville is the greatest challenge Papua New Guinea faces.

The sanctity of the union of PNG as one country is very important, Mr Marape said, and the Bougainville issue was bigger than Covid-19, the economy or other challenges.

Continue reading "Marape: Bougainville independence ‘biggest issue’" »


Let’s put our feet where our mouth is

Retreat on Pokpok Island near Kieta
Pokpok Island near Kieta. Tourism at community level has great potential for small business and, in the long term, to promote Bougainville as a peaceful and beautiful Pacific destination

SIMON PENTANU*

KIETA - We can talk about and hold up and dangle tourism as a potential driver and earner of Bougainville’s internal revenue - talking is easy.

We are creatures of habit and instinct and we keep talking and talking if it sounds good without realising things are much more involved and will take a lot more focused human effort than we think.

Continue reading "Let’s put our feet where our mouth is" »


Some friendly advice to Sir Bob Dadae

Lady Hannah and Sir Bob Dadae
Lady Hannah and Sir Bob Dadae. Sir Bob might be well-advised to stick to the praising, predictabilities and platitudes that are stock-in-trade for vice regal figures around the world

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – Sir Bob Dadae (Dadae fears PNG disintegration may be ‘inevitable’) is pointing to what, elsewhere in PNG Attitude, I have described as a “truly wicked” policy problem.

The wickedness arises because there is not an obvious solution to pro-autonomy tendencies which can appease both determined separatists and those people equally determined to maintain Papua New Guinea’s current constitutional arrangements.

Continue reading "Some friendly advice to Sir Bob Dadae" »


Dadae fears PNG disintegration may be ‘inevitable’

Sir Bob Dadae
Sir Bob Dadae

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - Papua New Guinea’s governor-general Sir Bob Dadae says the country’s disintegration is ‘inevitable’ if Bougainville continues to press for secession and other provinces seek autonomy.

Dadae called on the Marape government not to entertain requests from provinces to break away and seek independence.

Continue reading "Dadae fears PNG disintegration may be ‘inevitable’" »


Rio ready to deal with unfinished business

Theonila Matbob
Influential Bougainville politician, Theonila Matbob - Prominent in advocating that Rio Tinto should accept responsibility for cleaning up Panguna's devastating legacy

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – After several months of discussions Rio Tinto and 156 Bougainville community members, represented by the Human Rights Law Centre, last week reached an agreement to assess legacy impacts of the former Panguna copper and gold mine on Bougainville.

The mine was operated by Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL), then majority owned by Rio Tinto, from 1972 until 1989 when operations were suspended following guerrilla against the mine and a subsequent civil war.

Continue reading "Rio ready to deal with unfinished business" »


Rio agrees to review of Panguna impacts

Bougainville tailings waste flowing into Konawiru-Jaba River delta
Tailings waste flowing into Konawiru-Jaba River delta on the Bougainville west coast

STEFAN ARMBRUSTER
| SBS News

BRISBANE - Multinational mining giant Rio Tinto has agreed to fund an independent assessment of the human rights and environmental impacts of its former Panguna copper and gold mine in Papua New Guinea’s autonomous region of Bougainville.

Rio Tinto abandoned the mine in 1989 during a brutal civil conflict on Bougainville and now no longer holds a stake after controversially divesting its shareholding to the PNG and Bougainville governments in 2016, rejecting corporate responsibility for environmental damage.

Continue reading "Rio agrees to review of Panguna impacts" »


Back our independence mission: Toroama

Toroama addresses people at Buka's Bel Park after the Wabag leaders' meeting
President Toroama addresses people at Buka's Bel Park after the Wabag leaders' meeting

KEITH JACKSON

BUKA – Discussions were “tough”, Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama has revealed after last week’s top level talks in Wabag with Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape.

Describing the leaders’ meeting in Wabag as “tough”, Toroama told a public meeting in Buka that Bougainville’s independence must be settled so the autonomous province can move forward.

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Bougainville was not meant to be easy

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Malcolm Fraser, prime minister of Australia, 1975-83, popularised the maxim, 'Life wasn't meant to be easy'. The issue of Bougainville independence is a vexing one for all PNG politicians

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – Martyn Namarong is quite correct in his commentary, Bougainville highlights need for a new PNG’, both in his analysis of the Bougainville dilemma and his discussion of the implications for Papua New Guinea.

Denying Bougainville independence would be a catastrophe for PNG; while granting it independence will inevitably open up fissures in the wider PNG polity.

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Bougainville puts press in political crossfire

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The headline that James Marape condemned as 'misleading'

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Papua New Guinea’s prime minister James Marape has been forced to state publicly that at no point has his government agreed to Bougainville independence.

Marape has attacked the PNG Post-Courier’s reporting of his Wabag meeting with Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama, stating that “in no part [of our joint statement] is Independence mentioned."

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Bougainville highlights need for a new PNG

Martyn Namorong -
Martyn Namorong - "PNG needs a new Constitution that recognises the different tribal nations and empowers them with their full rights to self-determination within a political union"

MARTYN NAMORONG
| PNG Signal

PORT MORESBY - Will Papua New Guinea break up if Bougainville is granted full independence?

For some PNG leaders the threat of balkanization has shaped their attitudes towards Bougainville leaving the union of 850 tribes.

One of them is prime minister James Marape, who recently pleaded with Bougainville's leaders to take into consideration PNG’s fate when deliberating on the matter.

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