Bougainville Referendum Department Approved By Executive Council

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2015 marks start of 5-year window when independence vote must occur

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 8, 2015) – The start of 2015 automatically means the start of Bougainville’s Referendum period which under the Bougainville Peace Agreement should be held between 2015 and 2020.

With the opening of this window the Bougainville Executive Council has sanctioned the creation of a new Department; the Office for the Bougainville Referendum.

ABG President Chief Dr John Momis said the new department will manage and coordinate the government’s relationship with the National Government in seeing the successful implementation of Bougainville’s Referendum.

"Bougainville’s Referendum will determine the ultimate political future of Bougainville," the President said.

"We must all be ready to decide fairly and without fear the choice for our next political destination for we have struggled long and hard and this is the goal that we desire so much," President Momis added "The ABG is now ready to embark on this journey and the Office for Bougainville’s Referendum will be the lead facilitator," President Momis said.

The President said the Office will attain Departmental Status and will be headed by former Bougainville Acting Chief Secretary, Chris Siriosi as its Chief Executive Officer.

"Mr Siriosi’s knowledge and experience on this issue will be a great asset to the government and his legal background will also be of great use to the new department.

President Momis said Mr Siriosi will be used in this capacity as he is very experienced with the legal aspects of Bougainville Peace Agreement and the Referendum clause that takes effect between 2015 and 2020.

Mr Siriosi has also accepted the position and will be acting as the new CEO of the Office for the next six months until the position is advertised as required by law.

The President asserted that the emphasis of the new department also be to facilitate education and awareness of the Bougainville populace to ensure Bougainvilleans are aware of the coming Referendum.

This step by the Autonomous Bougainville Government shows the commitment the government has to seriously address Bougainville’s Referendum.

Despite certain discrepancies the ABG is adamant that it will prevail.

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