PNG Opposition Leader Commits To Support Bougainville Independence

Polye: Autonomous Region to be economically empowered; will abide by referendum results

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, May 19, 2017) – Opposition Leader Don Polye has assured the people of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville of their independence if he forms the next government.

He told the people of Central and South Bougainville at Arawa and Buin that he wanted to empower them economically first with economic recovery packages to prepare them for the referendum in 2019.

[PIR editor's note: On May 19, 2017 The National reported that 'Faction of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army have signed an agreement to work together as the province looks ahead to the 2019 referendum. ... Hundreds of people yesterday witnessed a reconciliation event at the Arawa Independence Oval in Buka.']

Polye said the region had huge potential in tourism which, if invested in adequately, would sustain the region’s revenue to fund other services such as health and education.

“We will respect the clauses in the peace agreements as they were put together during the toughest and saddest times,” Polye said.

“If you (people) want referendum, and eventually, independence, you will get it as you wish.”

Polye also raised his concern about the lack of international border surveillance at Buin.

He visited the Buin District Health Centre and described its condition as “absolutely unacceptable”.

“We are indirectly killing our people here,” he said.

“It is sad to see funds being used on non-priority areas.”

The National
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