The 40-day petition period for the Bougainville Referendum process has lapsed without any complaint from individuals or groups. The absence of petitions validates the Commission’s own view that the referendum was conducted to international standards, and was a free and fair process providing a result which the two governments of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea can trust.
Bougainville President John Momis assured the people of Bougainville that the 2020 ABG election will go ahead as constitutionally required. Getting independence is no easy task. “The consultations and negotiations will determine the final outcome of the process so we must do this well and work hard to get the best possible outcome for Bougainville. We must not fail our people.” – he said. President Momis also encouraged the people to maintain this peaceful attitude as they enter into the next phase of the process to independence.
Darius Wambu, the chairman of the newly formed Bougainville Independent Party, which was formed just after the referendum, said there is no more need to talk about autonomy as they have already voted for independence and must form an independent government during the 2020 elections. We must look at rebuilding the island with assistance from the United Nations and other countries, however, we must have good planners in the three regions of North, Central and South Bougainville. We must rebuild everything; the government, infrastructure, agriculture, education, health and all other services that are vital for our people.
Bougainvilleans, especially business houses in the region, want the Autonomous Bougainville Government to come up with tougher laws to protect local businesses against the influx of Asian-run businesses in Buka town. They say the ABG is not assisting local business people by allowing the Asians to run businesses in the region.