Bougainville’s President Momis lies again about his disastrous mining policy

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.

1 Comment

Filed under Financial returns, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

One response to “Bougainville’s President Momis lies again about his disastrous mining policy

  1. Donato

    It is as if those that compose and tailor the commentary on Bougainville, more specifically on Momis and Panguna, do it as if their life and survival depend on it. Or put it another way, they are so griped by their own imagination of the Armageddon that would befall Bougainville if Momis had Rio back in Panguna, so much so that these aliens have lost sense of any truth and facts. Instead they resort to the old tactic of spreading fear, untruth based on fiction. The fact that there have been a number of resolutions by Panguna Landowners predating the Momis’ reign as President is overlooked. The fact that if you had a vote, survey or plebiscite on Panguna you may find that overall the majority of all of Bougainville aren’t necessarily opposed to mining as long as it’s on Bougainville’s terms. Attacking Momis doesn’t help because ultimately it is Bougainville that decides the future of Panguna; it isn’t Momis or ABG but all of Bougainville. The majority of landowners and leaseholders in the Panguna mine-affected areas are in the majority have expressed clear desire to resume operations in Panguna, as long as BCL meets its moral and duty of care obligations up front. These swipes against Momis and against Bougainville at large are nothing but veiled threats against the good sense of most Bougainvilleans. They are being run in this blog because this is the only place where such loose and dishonest and distasteful commentary can be printed. Thank God it isn’t being read by most Bougainvilleans. The Bougainville Voices report has very little traction on the ground. Some of the people interviewed have already come out saying that they had to say something anyway; and anyway to them what happens in Bougainville will be decided by Bougainvilleans not by publication of some twisted research or reports supervised from abroad by academics for academic gain. Bougainville has moved it’s time forward. Bougainville wants to move forward, it must move forward. It cannot be held back by eccentrics that want us to back track. No amount of discredit or ridicule against Momis will distract or back track Momis from the mandate and responsibility he was given at the last Bougainville elections. He hasn’t done anything dramatically wrong that will dissuade the Bougainville electorate not to mandate him with another term as President. All Bougainvilleans should stand up against alien commentators that pretend that they know better than our leaders and think they can come and hide behind tree trunks, peep at us, like us and set out after us to win our hearts like they did with Pocahontas.

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