BOUGAINVILLEANS are to vote in June this year to decide whether to remain part of Papua New Guinea or to be independent.
The national government has tasked the Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) to formulate and finalise the questions that will be on the ballot paper and the tentative dates for the referendum.
On the ground in Bougainville, there has been a lot of preparatory work including public awareness programmes and activities to help people understand the process.
Elected leaders in PNG’s three-tier government system on Bougainville have helped in awareness works in the three electorates of North, Central and South Bougainville. Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has warned Bougainville to be wary of possible outside interference in the lead up to the referendum. He said such interferences could come in the form of misinformation.
The former prime minister of Ireland, Bertie Ahern has been appointed by the Joint Supervisory Body as chair of the BRC. During his term as prime minister, Ahern was involved in negotiations between parties to bring about peace in Northern Ireland.
He has since been involved in facilitating peace in other hot spots around the world including Ukraine, Nigeria, Iran, Turkey and the Basque Country.
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