OMBUDSMAN SEEKS RETURN OF SERVICES TO BOUGAINVILLE

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By Christine Banian

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, April 27) – Papua New Guinea governmental agencies responsible for the development of infrastructure services have been urged to travel into Bougainville to help restore services on the island.

This is the challenge from the Chief Ombudsman, Ila Geno, who was in Buka last week on one of the commission’s external relations programs.

Bougainvillians have suffered enough from the 10-year crisis and are trying to rebuild their lives but cannot do that without basic services, Geno said.

"My officers have traveled here and witnessed first-hand what the people of Bougainville are experiencing and crying for," he said.

The visit here was to raise awareness about the roles and functions of the commission.

"We want to let the people know that the commission is concerned about their welfare and they are not being forgotten," Geno said.

The Ombudsman said for the PNG government to know what is going on and how to help, government officers must travel to the island and help in the development and restoration of services.

"We at the commission always want to see things first-hand and, I can assure you, the state of affairs is very peaceful," Mr. Geno said.

He said the commission has a requirement to be present in Bougainville for the sake of humanity Ö the Ombudsman is all about good governance, so the people would be served better.

He also commended the Bougainville Constitutional Commission on the outcome of the Bougainville constitution, which is currently in its second draft.

The draft constitution, according to Mr. Geno, is suitable for the people of Bougainville and is balanced and based on a good foundation.

It promotes professionalism and gets the people to start at the best and also strive for the best.

"We at the commission are very supportive and will support them in every possible way."

Mr. Geno took the opportunity to thank outgoing administrator Simon Pentanu, Governor John Momis, BCC chairman Joseph Kabui and his deputy Gerard Sinato for assisting the Ombudsman Commission team to the island. Also included in the trip were members of the media.

April 28, 2004

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