The Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) says it is unacceptable that it has been consistently let down by the National Government in its continued deferral of the Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) meeting and its refusal to engage on important matters relating to the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
ABG President Chief Dr John Momis said that as a legitimate autonomous government, afforded specific constitutional powers, this was unacceptable.
“The National Government has consistently failed to meet its obligations under the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA),” President Momis said.
“The JSB was established as the primary mechanism under the Bougainville Peace Agreement through which ABG and the National Government must consult and resolve disputes,” he added.
Momis further expressed his disappointment, saying that the National Government has failed to respect the role of the JSB, instead using it as a rubber stamp to push through its own views at the expense of Bougainvilleans.
“After twelve years of autonomous government we are still constrained in our ability to govern effectively because of the inaction of the National Government,” Mr Momis said.
Over the last twelve years the JSB has not yielded anything of substance except for the negotiations for several drawdown of powers and functions and the implementation of some high impact projects.
With the JSB meeting now set for the 14-15 December, the ABG and National Government are still at loggerheads over the formula for the Restoration Development Grant of which close to a K1 billion is owed to the ABG. Further outstanding is K201 million of the Special Intervention Fund.
The ABG’s main focus for this JSB meeting will be on the referendum preparedness by both sides. The ABG has already taken steps to meet the terms of the BPA which will qualify Bougainville on eve of the referendum.
The National Government’s slowness in addressing the terms of the JSB and the Peace Agreement has greatly hindered the ABG’s efforts as referendum preparations must be carried out in agreement with the National Government.
Despite these setbacks the President was pleased with the momentum displayed by the ABG’s Department of Peace Agreement Implementation.
“In spite of these seemingly dark times I call on the people of Bougainville to focus on the noble ambition of self-determination and to commit to achieving our ultimate goal,” Mr Momis said.