Tag Archives: Me’ekamui

Rio Tinto and BCL are not welcome in Panguna

Peter Nerau

The mine. Photograph: Antony Loewenstein

The mine. Photograph: Antony Loewenstein

BCL are not welcome in Panguna. They were the reason why the mine was closed.

They failed to address landowner’s issues. They underestimated the educated landowners like the late Francis Ona.

CRA and BCL were themselves bullies assisted by the racist Australian Colonial Administration to trespass on the people’s land. They were never invited at the first place. They forced their way into Panguna and Bougainville without any invitation and consent of the people.

BCL the people of the Meekamui Tribal Nation and the Meekamui Defence Force do not want BCL back in Panguna.

Momis is a failed leader. He has blood in his hands. He has no respect of the culture of the people of Bougainville. The blood of the 20,000 lives are crying to be memorise and their spirits put to rest.

The present Panguna Landowners Association is not the true representative of all the landowners in Panguna.

The Meekamui Government is the entity that represents the true aspirations of all the landowners and they don’t want the mine to be open at this stage without addressing outstanding issues like memorial and compensation.

The Meekamui frankly do not welcome BCL and ABG at Panguna which is a no go zone to protect the resources of the people.

The Meekamui are the custodian of the people’s resources and they will continue to protect these resources by following the footstep of their late human rights leader Francis Ona.

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Filed under Environmental impact, Financial returns, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

Miringtoro unaware of Panguna claims

Joy Kisselpar | PNG Edge

Panguna mine

Panguna mine site

The Member for Central Bougainville Jimmy Miringtoro says the demands of “belkol moni” made by the Chief of the Barapang Village of Me’ekamui are silly.

Miringtoro says that he is not aware of the demands of K5 million or K150 million as stated by Chief Blaise Iruini.

He says for now, as the process for reconciliation slowly starts the focus now it is to restore basic government services

“For now we want to concentrate on developing our bridges, fixing our road systems, the hospitals, schools and all that,” he says.

Miringtoro is appealing to his people not to politicise efforts for reconciliation.

He says people should really concentrate, too, on working in partnership with their district representatives both at the local level and national level to ensure that government services are restored without much difficulty.

“Although we have gone through a lot in the past, we must learn to be part of a larger community and the country as we look to a referendum,” says Miringtoro.

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What actually transpired during O’Neill’s visit to Panguna

Dansi Oearupeu

O'Neill meets Chris Uma but cannot look him in the face

O’Neill meets Chris Uma but cannot look him in the face

As it is now established the Prime Minister was farewelled instead of being welcomed at Panguna, here is the story of how he nagged his way into Bougainville’s pot of gold, and what happened afterwards.

After his rousing welcome at Buka, the Prime Minister travelled to Buin before he made the special trip to Panguna. However, this was not possible as the Mekamui faction, the guardians of the Panguna mine area would not allow him to enter.

In the Melanesian context, outstanding issues between two disputing parties have to be solved before any progress is pursued. In this case, O’Neill knew too well that his goodwill visit would offend the people of Panguna, but as arrogant as he is; he nagged his way through despite the obvious resent. This was what that transpired the night before his approval to access Panguna.

A K50 million “bel kol” ultimatum was conditioned for his passage by the Mekamui government. The Mekamui faction also questioned the reason for the “goodwill” visit, as there are still outstanding issues to settle in relation to the 10 year crisis, which has long been ignored by the government.

The Prime Minister sent his advance team to meet with the Mekamui faction and ask for the PM’s approval into Panguna. It took three meetings, and on the final meeting, the Mekamui faction finally relented, as they believed sending back the Prime Minister would not be a good precedent for the people of Panguna. At 1 a.m. in the morning O’Neill was given the green light to enter Panguna.

At dawn the PM and his convoy made their way into towards the Itakara checkpoint, famously known as the No Go Zone. The smooth ride turned sour when his convoy was abruptly halted at the gate by hardline Mekamui military commander Chris Uma. Commander Uma called out the PM and told him in person that since he nagged his way into Panguna, the bel kol money was now increased to K150 million. A picture taken and posted on Facebook shows the battle hardened Commander staring directly at O’Neill’s face, while O’Neill watched the Commander’s belt.

The advance team requested that O’Neill would stay for three hours; however the Mekamui government only gave him an hour. There was clear tension in the air as the convoy made its way up into the mine site, the welcome ceremony was not even a welcome for the Prime Minister, and in fact it was the opposite. For the PM was given a dead man’s farewell.

Even before the speeches commenced; the media contingent were seen boarding the helicopter and flown out. The reason behind the media team being removed from the ceremony remains unknown as the speeches had not even started. Hence, what was reported by the main stream media on the Prime Minister’s visit to Panguna could be questioned because they (media) were not present during the speeches.

As time ticked on towards the hour mark, a visibly uneasy Prime Minister left Panguna with his delegation and headed for Arawa.

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Panguna landowners association wants mine reopened

Post Courier via Islands Business

Landowners of the Panguna Mine in Central Bougainville have reaffirmed their stand that they want the mine to be reopened.

The assurance was delivered by an executive member of the United Panguna Mine Affected Landowners Association (UPMALA) during the 3rd Regional Forum on Panguna Negotiations that was held in Buin, South Bougainville, early this week.

The UPMALA is an umbrella organisation made up of the nine landowner associations from the mine’s affected communities.

UPMALA executive Chief Michael Pariu said they supported the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s (ABG) decision to reopen the Panguna mine because they see that it will generate and boost the ABG’s revenue which will then be used to bring about tangible developments in Bougainville.

The ABG has identified the reopening of the mine as a priority issue because it will generate the revenue which could be used to address all pressing needs and issues currently facing Bougainville.
At the moment Bougainville is only raising about K6 million annually which is not enough to address and sustain Bougainville’s needs before the referendum period.

Chief Pariu said they understood the financial situation of the ABG, therefore they were also supporting the decision to reopen the mine.

Pariu added that they would stand behind any decision which would benefit the landowners, all Bougainvilleans and the ABG.

He also clarified misleading reports, saying that it was the Me’ekamui faction and their supporters who have been going against the reopening of the mine, and not the landowners as what many people have been thinking.

He, however, said UPMALA had already started discussions to try and lure them to their side to support the reopening of the mine.

Chief Pariu is now appealing to all factions and people in Bougainville to be united with the ABG in its drive to facilitate moves towards the reopening of the mine.

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