Thursday 4th June, 2020
Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, commended the Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) for conducting a successful Referendum in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
The Prime Minister made the acknowledgement when receiving the Bougainville Referendum Report from the Commissioners of the Commission.
He said the Referendum was credible and was ranked by international observers as one of the best, especially coming out of loss of lives as a result of conflict and civil war.
“Congratulations of the highest order to the BRC and all the people who put in a strong, consistent and committed effort into ensuring the majority of the people of Bougainville in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB), in other parts of the country, in the Solomon Islands and Australia, had their say in the Referendum.
“Let me also take this time to acknowledge the work of the Honourable Bertie Ahern, who travelled long distances from Ireland, showing dedication and commitment to cause of ensuring our country find a good resolve in what is a long and extended conflict.,” Mr Marape said.
He also thanked the Minister for Bougainville Affairs, Hon. Sir. Puka Temu for taking the lead politically to ensure the Referendum happened.
The report will now be tabled in Parliament for ratification and the post Referendum process will start after consultations with the Autonomous Region of Bougainville Government.
Mr Marape added the consultations will happen after the elections of the special region’s parliament.
Prime Minister Marape said the National Government is also working on giving greater autonomy to other provinces in the country while still keeping the country united as one country.
In the meantime, the National Government in consultation with the ABG Government will be calling on the BRC Commissioners for their expertise when it is required.
The Prime Minister was also pleasantly surprised when the Commission revealed that off the K27 million given to the Commission for the Referendum, the Commission has made a savings of K2 million that will be given back to the State.
He said that money will be held to carry out commitments in the special region.