Bougainville. Papua New Guinea press review
In Buka Island, administratively part of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARB) was built a new COVID-19 facility to quarantine people showing symptoms of coronavirus. Bougainville has been under a stringent State of Emergency for some weeks though flights into the region, from Port Moresby, were allowed to resume last week. According to the President of the ARB, the facility is funded by New Zealand and Australia. Mr. Momis also added, that «apart from that kind of facility we don’t have much, so we are lucky we haven’t been hit with any confirmed [COVID-19] case yet».
A well-known women’s advocate on Bougainville, Helen Hakena, is to contest the general elections in August 2020. Ms Hakena has run the Leitana Nehan Women’s Development Agency for 29 years, providing help and assistance to women affected by the civil war crisis and its aftermath. She said she has been asked to stand a number of times before but couldn’t leave an organisation that provided vital support for women: «I have been doing peace building work across all regions of Bougainville so I am standing this time because I think the timing is right. And I believe I can create change, for our people here».
Despite the fact that ARB election is set for August 2020 with the writs to be issued on 17 June 2020. Nominations will not open until after that date but there is already a large number of people lining up to contest for the presidency.
Work is underway to update the Bougainville electoral roll ahead of the election scheduled for August. The Electoral Commissioner, George Manu, said the roll used in Bougainville’s independence referendum late last year was being used as the working roll for updating. The final roll should be ready for gazetting shortly after the Issue of Writs on 17 June. The 2019 Referendum Roll had a record number of voters with 206,731. According to Mr. Manu, most of the 33 electoral districts in Bougainville have already completed the counting and registration of voters.