Post Courier | August 19,2016
BOUGAINVILLE President John Momis says the future of peace on Bougainville “is truly under threat” and he wants an immediate meeting with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
Mr Momis was expressing his fury at Mr O’Neill’s announcement on Wednesday that 17.4 per cent BCL equity recently transferred to PNG by developer Rio Tinto will be given to landowners and Bougainville’s people. Mr O’Neill said he deliberately decided that way so that the “ABG does not control the shares”
The President said he was angry because it was the ABG that speaks for the people of Bougainville, and cannot be excluded by the PM. Further, the transfer of 17.4 per cent to the landowners is worth little. The Bougainville Mining Law gives them full decision-making involvement and a good revenue share if mining resumes.
“The future of Panguna is Bougainville’s most sensitive issue.
“I have explained to the PM several times why it is vital the ABG holds the Rio shares in BCL. He has rejected my advice.
“He is interfering in Bougainville. He acts in the same high-handed manner as the colonial administration and BCL when the mine began, causing the Bougainville crisis.
“The ABG is the Government for Bougainville for all matters where powers are transferred.
“The Peace Agreement says autonomy aims for Bougainville to find solutions to its own problems. All mining powers have been transferred. So all mining decisions are matters for the ABG.
“The PM fails dismally to respect the peace agreement over mining, grant payments, and transfer of powers. Under his leadership, relations between Bougainville and the National Government are at an all-time low. The future of peace is now truly under threat.
“This is the most serious dispute ever between the two governments. I am offering the PM a last opportunity to resolve the dispute. I want a meeting with him no later than next week.”