Statement By Moses Havini

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MOSES HAVINI Bougainville Revolutionary Army Representative Sydney, Australia

MEDIA RELEASE January 29, 1999

On Abolition of Office of Bougainville Affairs
By Prime Minister Bill Skate - Thursday 28th January 1999.

Whilst Bougainville can not play any part in how Prime Minister Skate wants to run and organize his Government; we are however cautiously skeptical at his abolition of the Office of Bougainville Affairs to promote Mr. Akoitai as Minister for state. This now means that Mr. Akoitai will have additional state responsibilities, whereas he needs to devote all his time on the Bougainville Peace Process that has been a sensitive development since the first agreement was signed in Burnham in New Zealand, July 1997.

The greatest need of the Peace Process has been to develop a "mechanism" where only Bougainville needs, including financial assistance, not only from the government but also from overseas donors, could be channeled through for development and infra-structural development of the war-torn Bougainville.

Overseas Donors have refused or have withheld much needed funding into Bougainville- because of fear that it would be lost within PNG coffers or be re-directed to other needs in PNG other than in Bougainville. There is now a budget of $5 million for Bougainville with the former Ministry. The question is, what is now going to happen to this funding. This money is now urgently needed for the BRG Administration at this very point in time. We now fear that all Bougainville funding, etc., will be quickly lost within the Prime Minister's Department.

Now that all functions relating to the administration of Bougainville will come under the Prime Minister's department, the Bougainville Peace Process is going to be snowed under extra bureaucracy within the PM's Department. This undoubtedly is going to be a major setback to the current momentum of the Bougainville peace process we have established so far.

The special ministry was created for Bougainville, because of a very special problem on Bougainville that could not be solved in any other way except through a special ministry. This was not to suggest that it would encourage provincialism in other parts of PNG, as the issue in Bougainville is very special which Papua New Guinea other provinces could never emulate.

The people of Bougainville strongly call upon the Skate Government and the Opposition to stop using the " Bougainville Issue" as a political platform to further their own agendas in their current power struggle. Too much is at stake in Bougainville to be clouded in petty politics of the Opposition and the Skate Government.

For additional information: Vikki John (VIKKI@lexsun.law.uts.edu.au)

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