As opposition to Rio Tinto’s return grows on Bougainville , and the President’s optimistic predictions of unanimous support prove misguided, John Momis is embarking in a campaign to change the historical record so his own track-record of bad governance and poor judgement will not be recognised in the upcoming election.
Following the publication of the Bougainville Voices report in September 2014, Momis denied ever adopting a policy which called for Panguna’s reopening.
In a letter signed by the President on 22 September 2014 (evidence has been produced suggesting his Australian legal advisor actually wrote the contents), he alleges:
“The statements that the ABG has ‘initiated a campaign to reopen the Panguna mine’ and that I, as President, have been ‘spearheading this effort’ (p.14), are false … From the outset our goal has been to establish whether or not Bougainvilleans wanted to consider reopening Panguna and, if so, under what conditions”.
As we have had to sadly do so many times over the years, it is time once more to draw attention to the President’s dishonesty.
For example readers can view the President’s statement to The National made on 10 February 2011. Here he claimed:
“My view is that for the re-opening of the mine, the bulk of the people on Bougainville want the mine to be reopened … We want empowerment. Political power without economic power is nothing. Bougainville copper mine must open under a new regime”.
Or we could look at Meeting Minutes taken in November 2011, where the Panguna Management Consultative Committee (PMCC) was told by the Mining Minister, Michael Oni, “that there was no two ways about [it, the] Panguna mine [is] being opened in the not too distant future”. President Momis in agreement added, the mine “must be opened and there is an important need for a Unified Stand by ABG and Panguna Landowners”.
As the writer George Orwell wrote in his book 1984, “Those who control the present, control the past and those who control the past control the future”. We cannot allow the past to be rewritten by those looking to profit in the future at the cost of the masses.