As we expected, they did it, in secret and through bribery, but the Bougainville Mining Bill is passed. The foreign mining interests are already pumping their fists, and have been parading triumphant press releases, trying to contain their glee as they tell Bougainvilleans ‘you are free now’ (knowing the opposite to be true).
Yet the ‘legislation’ is dirty, covered in the sins of its fathers.
It is covered in the bad breath of the World Bank and Adam Smith International, institutions set up to dispossess indigenous people and customary landowners, so the markets can ravage their land and environment.
It is corrupted by the heavy hoof of the Australian government, whose high priced intellectuals have tried to sell the unsellable to an unconvinced population.
It is thick in the foul of bribery, as money was given out in large amounts to MPs to pass the bill.
It will now be a criminal offence in Bougainville to pull up marker pegs, or to oppose the grilled teeth of bulldozers, because someone, somewhere signed a document – someone you may not even know, but approved by the ABG to speak on behalf of ALL landowners. Consent can now be given by .1% of the landowning population on behalf of the other 99.9%. That is mining democracy.
If you have a problem with the mining company, and the consultation process, who do you have a right to complain to? The mining company, who are charged with responsibility for overseeing informed consent and adjudicating on community grievances.
The land has been given to the foreign elite, who will pour over Bougainville’s riches with sweaty desire, ravaging futures so a few speculators can get rich, quick.
But dirty bills, passed by dirty means do not have the respect of the population. They are not laws, they are pieces of paper, written by foreign corporations, and raised through bribery. This type of filthy document will not be respected.
What we now have a recipe for is conflict and insecurity, as a government attempts to force mining on populations with a law they never read, or consented too. People will resist.
Momis may celebrate, but he may have just unleashed a rot that will destroy his legacy.