Nikanna Kaansi | ACT NOW!
It lifts the eyebrows of the ordinary citizens of Panguna and Bougainville to see the Government and partner Landowner associations pretending to oppose the Jubilee research in unity. It is interesting to see the media saying there is unity in among the associations in Panguna and ABG. The denial is based on assumption without providing substantial evidence which only adds credibility to the report. The ongoing criticisms on the report has actually raised the profile of the study, gaining more attention from abroad.
Autonomous Bougainville Government resurrected the old Panguna Land Owner Association after being pronounced a government. People in the association were the ones condemned by Kabui’s provincial government in the late 1980s. The motive was all directed towards reopening of Panguna Mine. The landowner association group got further divided by their government just to avoid people not speaking the same voice.
The government’s mission from the beginning was reopening of Panguna Mine. The pop up associations with Momis’ rubberstamp only created more confusion among the people. The once radical Bougainville leader has now sidelined the associations and started making his own decisions to speed up the reopening. The moment ABG seemed to have control over the mining issue, along came the Jubilee report with people voices. These was the least expected attack from within.
The voices of 82 people came out clearest at the international level saying a different thing altogether. The report white-brushed the minority landowner groups and the government. What shocked the liars was the fact that report from the people was almost a hundred percent anti-mining – the total opposite of what is said by the government.
The report outlined publicly that Panguna people were not consulted, no forum was held nor are 97 percent of the people supporting the mine reopening.
Now with the continuous opposition through any available media outlet, what impression is it trying to give out? The research in itself can never be denied because it is people’s own voices. What the government almost capitalized on was the lack of confidence people in Panguna have. ABG has been putting the tag of anti-mining to people whom they call a minority, however they do not realise that most, if not the majority of Bougainvillians are actually anti-mining.
However, as a result of generations long held respect for leaders the people do not have the confidence to condemn their leaders for lying. The people ABG is using at the moment to deny the report are individuals who do it such activities for, and yes it is none other than money. Panguna people will never be convinced with all crap made by the desperate government and its fragmented landowners associations. And also the denial has finally affirmed that the so called legal government and its landowner associations are for BCL/Rio Tinto, not the people.