Use of force to Open Mine
Anthony Kaybing | New Dawn
A recent statement in the blogs site Papua New Guinea Mine Watch has come under fire following its misquotations of a speech given by Autonomous Bougainville Government President Grand Chief Dr. John Momis.
The scathing report gives a tainted view of the President’s outlook on the sensitive Panguna Mine issue with the report implying that the President is hell bent on reopening the mine by force and also expressing his dissatisfaction of the Panguna Landowners Association.
The actual speech given by President Momis during the first mass by newly ordained priest Fr. Ambrose Kakatai at the Tabago Parish, Buin District on Sunday 15th February 2015 contradicts the report at so many levels.
President Momis’ speech was simply about the responsibility that Bougainvilleans must now undertake to prepare themselves for the coming referendum and their responsibility to honor the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
Parts of the President’s speech were made in the Telei (Buin) dialect as the majority of the people at the event were from the Buin District.
The part of the President’s speech that was misconstrued may have been when he explained the ABG’s continued consultative approach to resolving the Panguna issue.
“The ABG continues to consult our people on the Panguna Mine’s reopening, because of the respect for our people the mine will not be reopened by force,” direct quote of the President’s speech made in the Telei Dialect.
This quote is the only one in which President Momis mentions anything about the use of force to reopen the mine.
The other allegation raised in the report on President Momis’ speech was his “criticism” of the Panguana Landowners Association which again contradicts the actual speech.
President Momis said on the same speech that the ABG was working closely with important stakeholders such as the Panguna Landowners to resolve the issue and that the government had already created a channel of communication with the Mekamui Traibal Government of Unity who at first were suspicious of the ABG’s interest in the Panguna Mine.
An observer noted that the publishing of such derogatory reports is only to derail the progress the ABG has made in resolving the Panguna issue and on the eve of the ABG Elections in June this was just a smear campaign against President Momis and his cabinet.