Former Bougainville Revolutionary Army Commander Supports People’s Progress Party (PPP)

Party is lead bySir Julius Chan who was PM during infamous Sandline Affair

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Nov. 17, 2016) – Former Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) commander Sam Kaona has declared his political allegiance to the People’s Progress Party (PPP).

Kaona also announced that he had turned down invitations from Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and NCD Governor Powes Parkop to join their respective parties.

Kaona made the announcement at a PPP awareness meeting he organised at his Aropa village home last Sunday.

The meeting drew the support of paramount chiefs from the three constituencies in Kieta district of Central Bougainville, among others.

Kaona pointed out that Sir Julius Chan was not prime minister when the conflict broke out, and the conflict was bound to happen at any stage regardless of who was prime minister.

[PIR editor's note: Sir Julius Chan was Prime Minister in 1997 when the PNG government entered into a contract with Sandline International to send mercenaries to put down the separist movement in Bougainville. The failed Sandline Affair led to the downfall of Chan's government.]

In referring to mineral ownership issues, Kaona said he had confidence and believed in the party whose leadership (Sir Julius) had been fighting to bring back the people’s stolen rights.

He said he had lost confidence in the current prime minister whom he said still embraced colonial laws.

“Unfortunately the (national government) leadership now is not strong enough to change the mining laws taken from Britain and Australia, that is why we cannot start our own mines,” Kaona said.

“The way forward to bring about changes is through PPP.

“Other parties have not made their stand clear (on mining issue) like Sir Julius and his team are doing,” Kaona said.

He said the move by party leader and Kavieng MP Ben Micah to the Opposition was radical because he saw that things were not right in the government.

On trade issues, Kaona said Bougainville was located strategically along an international trade route with New Ireland and stood to benefit immensely under free-trade zone arrangement.

However, such arrangement can only be made possible under a new leadership provided by the PPP.

On the Bougainville peace process, Kaona  recollected Sir Julius’ role in brokering peace talks that culminated in what he (Kaona) said was a moving reconciliation ceremony in Kavieng.

“Sir Julius also showed us the way to address issues and helped us to understand how the whites (investors) were dividing us, resulting in the crisis which was triggered by mining laws that favoured  foreign companies,” Kaona said.

“Through PPP, Bougainville and PNG have hope,” Kaona said.

The National
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