Bougainville. Papua New Guinea press review
The Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARB) eased some of the restrictions designed to keep Covid-19 out of the region, says the President of Bougainville, John Momis. Bougainville has had no cases of the coronavirus and a number of samples sent to the Papua New Guinea mainland for testing came back negative.
It must be noted that Earlier travel into the Bougainville was completely shut down but however air travel is starting again this week. According to the President of Bougainville John Momis, since they are all domestic travellers, the isolation was not needed, unless people arrived with possible symptoms of the coronavirus. He said under those circumstances they would be quarantined for two weeks, but across-the-board isolation was not necessary and Bougainville couldn’t afford it.
State of Emergency regulations, in terms of social distancing, were still set to remain in place until the middle of June. Meanwhile from this week Bougainvilleans are to receive coronavirus awareness messages on their mobile phones and got access to a free hotline offering advice on COVID-19.
However, work on updating the electoral roll for the 2020 Bougainville General Election is currently underway in Bougainville. The Bougainville Electoral Commissioner, George Manu, said the roll display and registration of eligible voters has already been completed in most of the 33 constituencies in the region. The ward recorders had used the 2019 Bougainville Referendum Roll as the working roll to update the electoral roll that will be used in this year’s ARB election.
Autonomous Region Bougainville President, John Momis supporters want the Supreme Court’s decision on whether Mr Momis will contest the ABG elections for the third consecutive term to be delivered now and not on the eve of Issue of Writs (17th of June 2020). Executive director for Leitana Nehan Womens’ Agency, Helen Hakena said the prolonged court decision for President Momis on whether he will contest the upcoming ABG elections is causing anxiety and frustration among supporters of Mr Momis throughout Bougainville.
At the same time, Joe Lera, the Bougainville Regional MP, is resigning his seat to contest the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) elections next month. Lera said he needed to become the President of Bougainville to prepare the people during the post-referendum stage for full independence from PNG. The position is currently held by John Momis. As Mr. Lera stated, it was time to make the move. «I am 56 years old and at the prime of my leadership career to serve Bougainville». Mr. Lera said after nine years in the national parliament he had a lot to offer Bougainville: «I would shift the focus from foreign investment to sustainable development in agriculture, fishing, tourism – the side that would connect with the people».
PNG DataCo Limited announced that the Kumul Submarine Cable Network (KSCN) landed in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARB). The landing in Arawa was witnessed by PNG DataCo Limited representatives and Arawa Town Mayor, Augustine Barkson, and Deputy Mayor Genevieve Korokoro.
The Autonomous Region of Bougainville is the last province for the fibre optic cable to land and connect all the country. Since February 2020, PNG DataCo Limited with its partners have been building the submarine cable from Jayapura (Indonesia) into PNG towns Vanimo, Wewak, Lorengau, Madang, Kimbe, Kavieng, Kokopo.
According to PNG DataCo Limited CEO, Paul Komboi, «this important infrastructure will now provide abundance of information throughout PNG which will link all our island provinces to the mainland and central agencies in Port Moresby». The submarine cable network is expected to have a positive impact in many areas, including education, health, logistics, trade, industry, agriculture, tourism and others.