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Monday, 9 June 2014

Philip Miriori, a problem in Bougainville politics

Leonard Fong Roka

It was in May when travelling to Port Moresby for the Lowy Institute’s PNG Young Voices Conference that a Bougainvillean academic told me that ‘President Momis should retire from politics if he loves Bougainville.’ But his words, though significant in its own terms, did get me back to my homeland, the Panguna District and all its nasty and irrelevant politics.
Bougainvilleans sometimes should appreciate us, the stubborn Panguna people, for our contribution to physically rebel the old Bougainville problems of exploitation, indoctrination and genocide landed on us by the colonial administration of the Germans since 1886-1905 window, supported by the Australians and inherited by the Papua New Guinea state since 1975.

We the Panguna people also played significant roles in the peace process on Bougainville since 1997 and also before that; but our problem is that we have that internal mi-tu-man (I am also a difference) conflicts.

Looking down the history of the Bougainville ‘armed’ crisis in 1988 we can see that there is a replica of past events with external bonding this time that further complicates Bougainville progress in the Kieta area.

In the 1980s when the late Francis Ona of Guava village was up with his militant activities, the late Joseph Kabui from the neighboring village of Enamira was in the podium of the North Solomons Provincial Government representing the authority of the day. This was, to the eye of a politically illiterate Panguna man, a Panguna man vs. Panguna man crisis then.

And coming the peace process efforts since 1997 it was a Panguna man, the late Joseph Kabui, running the pro-peace game and it was a Panguna man, the late Francis Ona, that run a anti-peace campaign. Thus this has direct impacts on Panguna District itself and the wider Kieta area of Central Bougainville. I do believe the psyche of the people was affected.

This is not a Panguna problem anymore for it had spilled over from the brim of Panguna politics and beyond to the ends of Bougainville.

Soon after traditional figures of Bougainville politics, Francis Ona and Joseph Kabui were off the screen by way of their death Panguna saw a rise in too many little-men running for the shoes of their relatives. And all these little-man are vying to be the next Francis Ona at the wrong time in the political transition of Bougainville.

And one of this little-man of Panguna is Philip Miriori.

Before I talk about who Philip Miriori is, we need to know the realm Philip Miriori is playing in or from.

The 2013 research paper, The Gangs of Bougainville: Seven Men, Guns and a Copper Mine, by Stan Starygin says that:


 Philip Miriori, and Philip Takaung declaring themselves Ona’s successors. Miriori and Takaung brought Pipiro back to command the MDF troop severely depleted by the departure of Uma’s loyalists.

Miriori and Takaung rebranded Ona’s Kingdom of Me’ekamui into the Me’ekamui Government of Unity (‘MGU’) and significantly softened Ona’s stance on the ABG resulting in a landmark memorandum of understanding (‘the Panguna Communiqué’) in 2007. The Panguna Communiqué signaled, in part, a complete break from Ona’s positions and, in part, their significant alteration. As such, through it, the MGU denounced Uma’s checkpoint as having “abused and misused its objectives and rules of engagement under the Me’ekamui government” and as having the purpose “to blockade the Panguna people”,65 condemned “the use of arms and violence”66 and acquiesced to what can, perhaps, be best termed as a ‘two political viewpoints, one administrative structure’ arrangement with the ABG.67 In return, even though ABG has no such authority by any constitutional provision and ABG reciprocated by allowing the MGU to have its “own contingent plans on arms containment”68 and, of course, a promise of bringing resolution of “social issues and development issues”,69 “financial assistance, economic benefits, development packages, good and service”,70 and “other services”;71 all of these translate into ABG bringing money into the MGU-dominated  area, which doubtless was the main reason for this rapprochement for the MGU.


Philip Miriori, Philip Takaung and Noah Musingku were the trio vying to be successors of Francis Ona when he died. But conflict pushed Noah Musingku to Siwai where he pursued his Papaala Twin Kingdoms and Chris Uma out of Panguna to Arawa to run his anti-Panguna version of Meekamui. With two non-Panguna rivals out Miriori, Takaung and a BRA man, Pipiro, all from Panguna created their Meekamui Government of Unity (MGU) with Philip Miriori as president.


And so the 2007 signing of the Panguna Communiqué between the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) under the late Joseph Kabui and the MGU that catapulted Philip Miriori to be a nosiest and hard-to-trust destructive little-man of Panguna.


And we the Kietas are good noise-makers. I said this in my 2012 PNG Attitude story, Bougainville politics & the characteristics of its people, that:


 In Central Bougainville where the Kietas are politically and economically dominant, I see a lot of ‘big mouths’ that just cannot stop talking. Central Bougainvilleans are creative in exporting their dreams without testing the practical outcomes of those thoughts. But this population also readily absorbs change and adapts change to create results.


We talk and talk and talk. This could be noted even with the Central Bougainville MP in Waigani, Communications Minister Hon. Jimmy Miringtoro who talks hard in the media negatively attacking ABG but when the ABG responds with real facts, he hides for awhile to get fresh air.


And with Philip Miriori and the current exchanges with the ABG on the Panguna mine re-opening issue Miriori is an Octobers with too many hands.


In a New Dawn on Bougainville (3 June) story, Me’ekamui’s Miriori challenged to be honest about mining, our President Dr. John Momis blasted Miriori:


I challenge Mr. Miriori to tell us about his foreign advisers, and what they are doing to make money for foreign interests. They included two Americans with the Tall J Foundation, Stewart Sytner and Thomas Megas. There are documents freely available on the Internet that show they claim that Mr. Miriori sold them mining rights in areas to the north of the Panguna Special Mining Lease. I challenge him to tell us is what Sytner and Megas claim is true.
What about the other investors in Tall J? What advice did they give to Miriori? What about the Tall J investor who brought in the Chinese scrap metal dealers? What advice did he give? What about the advice that Mr. Ian Renzie Duncan gives?
“Mr. Miriori is not being honest about the future of mining. His hands are not clean in relation to mining.
“Mr. Miriori is not being honest about foreign advisers. Again his hands are not clean.
“I challenge him to be honest on these matters. I challenge him to enter these debates only when he has clean hands.


Dr. Momis attacks are real facts that Philip Miriori when accusing ABG on mining runs his own deals to attract foreign mining and even scrap metal groups into Panguna. With the scrap exhausted scrap metal industry Panguna people at most had gain nothing when foreign groups walked away with tonnes of Panguna scrap.


And the general culture of these Meekamui figures is known by all foreign opportunists: ‘just decant a cup of K1 coins into their mouth and they open the door wide’. And this is a chronic characteristics; their existence is the ABG’s politics that does not satisfy the hearts and minds of us, Bougainvilleans.


And even their political fantasies, so cocooned with threats, is hanging on the thread and they will get a natural dead if ABG plays a kind of politics that wins the hearts and minds of the people of Bougainville.  


Sunday, 8 June 2014

Problem in the Bougainville cocoa industry

Leonard Fong Roka

Cocoa famer Patrick Erengona from Kaino village in the hinterland of Arawa earned K680.00 for two bags of dry bean cocoa in the last week of May and considering the cost of goods and services on Bougainville such an amount is not enough to sustain the livelihood of families and all problems goes into the cocoa industry ownership issue.  
In a story, Bougainville soon to be a cocoa leader (Post Courier, 18 November 2004 in page 17) by Eric Tapakau, it was said that by the end of 2004 Bougainville should have 30 million cocoa trees and there was a feasibility study for a proposed cocoa factory on the island led by the Cocoa Board of Papua New Guinea and spearheaded by the European Union.

To this day there is no evidence of any tangible socio-economic progress for the people and the autonomous region as a whole as should be as indicated by this media release. And the problem as should be is the ownership of the cocoa industry of the island.

Bougainvillean farmers are not the owners of their cocoa but the real owners are the non-Bougainvillean buyers and dealers. And in the 2008 research work, Market chain development in peace building: Australia’s roads, wharves and agriculture projects in post-conflict Bougainville, Ian Scales and Raoul Graemer reported (page 24) that Bougainville cocoa since being purchased directly by Rabaul-based buyers has been misattributed as East New Britain cocoa.

This is of course a direct exploitation of the Bougainville economy and the poor Bougainvillean farmers like Patrick Erengona of their resources’ earnings.

Ian Scales and Raoul Graemer (page 25) noted the Rabaul-based buyers in the 2005-2006 window as the Agmark, Outspan and Garamut. These companies operate as direct buyers of dry bean cocoa and also operate their dealers of local buyers that purchase cocoa and sell back.

And their chronic problem has been the raise of ‘black-market’ and ‘grey-market’ cocoa that affects monitoring by the Cocoa board of PNG (Bougainville) and proper earning schemes for agents and the Bougainville economy.  This is to do with registered and unregistered fermentary sheds around Bougainville and their distant masters.

The distant between these Rabaul-based buyers and their agents on Bougainville; the distant between the Rabaul-based buyer’s office in Buka and its agent in Arawa or Buin complicates things.

‘Grey-market’ cocoa is when a local dealer buys cocoa from unregistered fermentary, brands it with the number of a registered fermentary and sells it on to a cocoa exporter whilst ‘Black-market’ cocoa is unbranded and unreceipted and eventually mixed with legitimate produce for export.


The Bougainville branch of the Cocoa Board thus finds it hard to monitor, control and protect Bougainvilleans in terms of their income and pricing. This weakness had over the years attracted dozens of non-Bougainvillean companies entering Bougainville further complicating things for the under staffed Cocoa Board of PNG.  


And the impact is on the little growers and farmers like Erengona. Mr. Erengona’s fermentary is unregistered but sells his cocoa to a clansman who he says is an agent to Outspan. Thus he cares less about registering for he says Cocoa Board of PNG does nothing good to help him.


Cocoa Board of PNG does nothing good for Patrick Erengona and thus here is now a window for political intervention by the Bougainville government for its citizen’s betterment and its own internal revenue sourcing.


According to Ian Scales and Raoul Graemer (page 26), in the 2004-2005 Bougainville produced 15 670 tons of exportable cocoa matching the pre-crisis average of 15 600 tons. This quantity with the world market pricing of that period which was about K3 900 per ton (2006 price) could have fetched the Bougainville economy some K59 million if Bougainville had its own company in charge of it cocoa industry.


When non-Bougainvillean companies control the cocoa industry of Bougainville, farmers like Erengona, are exploited and the government keeps wailing to re-open the Panguna mine with foreign consultants screaming into its ears, ‘Re-open Panguna and your GDP will rocket into the space and we give you more loans to keep you under control.’


Erengona harvests about 140-170 kilograms of wet bean cocoa to ferment that to one standard exportable bag of 63.5 kilograms of dry bean bag. And in such places like Kaino caring for cocoa plots; harvesting and fermenting and accessing the market is labour intensive and costly.


So his recent earnings of K340 per bag is a disadvantage for him and the Bougainville economy where the cocoa industry is not own by Bougainvilleans or their government.


Since cocoa is one major income earner for Bougainvilleans the Bougainville government must seriously take control of the industry.


‘Bougainville is taking all the powers and functions of government from PNG,’ Erengona says, ‘so it’s about time it forms his own cocoa board and also form a true Bougainvillean company to export the cocoa we produce.


‘With that I think the price of cocoa on Bougainville will triple and that the internal revenue of Bougainville will rise and there is no need to destroy our environment with the re-opening of the Panguna mine since Bougainville is a small island.’


To Erengona Bougainville is being exploited yet of it enormous economic power from this single cash crop to advance above with its political journey towards referendum to decide its political future by foreign companies and its own myopic politicians.


Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Bougainville Manifesto 14: A Political System for Bougainville

Leonard Fong Roka

A Bougainvillean is person with a culture; and that culture is secured in a land known as Bougainville that is in a territory of Solomon archipelago and this is a self-sustaining entity. In Bougainville Manifesto 13, it is said that:

If cocoa grows in Bougainville, then Bougainville must produce chocolate powder; if coffee grows on Bougainville, then Bougainville must produce coffee powder; if a coconut palm sways on Bougainville, then Bougainville must produce oil cosmetics; if the sea girds Bougainville, then Bougainville must produce salt for his table; and if the Bougainville child is born on land, then that child owns the land and everything that grows on it belongs to him but he must care for them and trade them to get what his land will not give him.

And in the tiny sea of islands that Bougainville is a part of in the Pacific self sustaining economic and political models are vital; and such a system must not be too capitalistic but should be centered on the welfare of the people.
In Section 40 of the Bougainville Constitution (Structure and Levels of Government) it is stated:

Government in Bougainville shall consist of—

(a)    the Autonomous Bougainville Government in accordance with Division 2 (Autonomous Bougainville Government); and

(b)   a level or levels of formal government below the level of the Autonomous Bougainville Government in accordance with Division 3 (other levels of formal government); and

(c)    the traditional system of government in accordance with Division 4 (traditional system of government).


Under the autonomy arrangement this three-level system is already active and it has proven to be inclusive of all Bougainvilleans in decision making process of their homeland. Currently Bougainville has about four levels of government (Village Assembly (VA) being added recently) as can be observed throughout the island.

In most cases the first level of government is the Village Assembly (VA). This level is centered in the village where there are different clans (also having own governing structures) that come together to make decisions of their village affairs. Individual VAs then has a fair representation in the next level, the Council of Elders (CoE). The CoE members are elected members. From here Bougainville now had the District level where it is made up of the CoEs and in most cases it is more public policy oriented rather than political. And the last and top level is the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) parliament.

In the case of Bougainville, a four-level government system, seem not economical and from the present arrangement a three-level (ABG-CoE-VA) is viable.

Whatsoever the levels of government are, the fundamental question is: what are the roles and responsibilities of these levels; and the most reasonable answer to this is that the levels or a Bougainville political systems’ major collective task is the sustenance of a mutual state-citizen relationship. The Bougainville state should be advancing in regional and international politics, its economy should be functional in the capitalistic global market systems and the citizens of Bougainville should be a happy lot and not the one with chronic disparity and struggle.

Many states—big or small—in the current world dominated by capitalism and globalization turn to work on the sustenance of a positive Gross National Product (GDP) at the cost of the people and with such a reckless rush for scarce resources they harm equality and equity within their citizens. Thus disparity of economic, political, social, cultural, technological gain is prevailing breaking the world order.

And for a tiny island as Bougainville; with a few resources and a growing population of some 19-30 (Bougainville Manifesto 3) language groups that indicate the number of peoples, a happy state-citizens relationship is paramount; and this is because the strength to build the state of Bougainville should be sourced from this harmonious state-people coexistence.

There is room for Bougainville to design a political system centered on the Bhutanese politics of Gross National Happiness (GNH) as provided by website, Gross National Happiness (n.d.) whereby material and spiritual development can occur side by side to complement and reinforce each other.
And Bougainville and its people are known for struggles against exploitation, indoctrination and subjection to genocide in the midst of the Pacific. Thus the four (4) pillars of Gross National Happiness: (1) promotion of sustainable development, (2) preservation and promotion of cultural values, (3) conservation of natural environment and (4), the establishment of good governance, can be the way forward for Bougainville political future and state building.

All these points to one direction and that are the application of the welfare concept of development in Bougainville politics where government should work to alleviate poverty, focus on human wellbeing, and improve equality. Participatory or social democracy should be the system for Bougainville making GNH, Welfare, human capital investment, sustainable development and so on as the national Bougainville state pillars.

This is of course reflects the Nordic model as pointed by Wikipedia that combines the free market economy with the welfare state.

The Nordic models as Wikipedia puts it, that:

These include support for a "universalist" welfare state (relative to other developed countries) which is aimed specifically at enhancing individual autonomy, promoting social mobility and ensuring the universal provision of basic human rights, as well as for stabilizing the economy; alongside a commitment to free trade. The Nordic model is distinguished from other types of welfare states by its emphasis on maximizing labor force participation, promoting gender equality, egalitarian and extensive benefit levels, the large magnitude of income redistribution, and liberal use of expansionary fiscal policy

Bougainville must encompass this political model to survive. For Bougainville to survive under globalization its powerbase, these are the people of Bougainville, must be secured and be safe first; that is, all Bougainvilleans must be in a peaceful environment, they must be free, they must be participating, they must be educated, they must be standing on their traditional values, and so on then Bougainville will truly be a stable and advancing democracy.

The success of a Bougainville political system (s) will depend on peaceful citizen-state relationship. And the citizen-state relationship must be enhanced by getting every man to firstly know his place in society, he must know his cultures and other Bougainvillean peoples, he must know his land and environment and he must know his region’s or country’s place in the global village.

Foreigner's Voice in Bougainville Politics is Off-Track

Leonard Fong Roka

In the 2009 YouTube film, The Reeds Festival, the late Bougainvillean film actor and advocator of Bougainville cultures, William Takaku stated, ‘The old leaves must fall to allow the young leaves to grow leaving their wisdom of the trunk to the young leaves to carry on the culture of the tree.’ But sadly on the political level the old leaves are there creating chaos and instability for the young leaves of Bougainville.
The Bougainville crisis since 1988 and the reaching of the peace process since 1997 is a development on the lives of Bougainvilleans that created shifts in the power status of individuals across the island. There are pre-crisis people that the crisis stripped them of their powers and there are those that the crisis catapulted into high status of power they had never seen before. And where normalcy is prevailing on Bougainville, the latter seem engulfed by fear of losing power.

And a notable Bougainville woman leader, Ruby Miringka stated frankly on the combatant populace in the 2009 Dom Rotherce film, Bougainville: Reopening old Wounds. Her myopic statement said, ‘They don’t know their future [and] that’s why they are hanging onto their guns.’ But the significance of her words would be found more stunning at the political arena.

Since the birth of the peace process threat was foreseeable for those whom the conflict blessed them with power status. And this is evident in the many Dr. John Momis vs. Sam Kauona that is hurting to the psyche of a people that want to see harmony on their land and politics.

Observing the trends of confrontation between these two political figures, it is obvious that it is war for political dedication to serve Bougainville interest for the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and a power status survival for Sam Kauona who had forge a long trail of international arrangements to strike the existing authority on the ground.

And Bougainville been a trouble zone transiting slowly towards normalcy is the place where opportunists rush at to make fortunes as noted in the Leonardo Dicaprio movie, Blood Diamond. Diamonds and violence in Africa but in Bougainville, the Dr. Momis vs. Kauona, is around who should be made or seen as legitimate by the authority system in place and the people.

A few people recognized the extremity of this struggle, from Kauona’s side, during the ABG-Landowner Association Forum in Buka that ran 5-6 December, 2013. Once here, facilitators told participants to keep out for a few minutes and they sort out agendas but Sam Kauona who of course was not part of this came from nowhere to storm the close door to verbally strike the organizers.

This Kauona attitude towards the ABG has roots in the pre-ABG days. And this is in his relationship with the Australian resident of Canada Lindsay Semple and a Southern Highlander, Philip Rali and their company, Invincible Resources. The trio was able to get the infant ABG under control then under the late Joseph Kabui who had a notable weakness of unwillingness to hurt others unlike Dr. John Momis currently.  

But despite winning the late Joseph Kabui they failed to win the parliament with their creation of the Bougainville Resources Development Corporation (BRDC) that of course sold Bougainville to Lindsay Semple and Philip Rali. Their deal gave 70 percent of Bougainville natural resources and wealth created from these resources away to these two foreigners; this shock also led to the dead of Joseph Kabui. But with Kabui gone, Semple and Rali are still around driving Kauona as a child everywhere since they have spent figures like the K20 million offered to ABG and so on and they need to get back that somehow.

After the first failure, Semple and Rali came back under the skin of the Canadian company, Morumbi Resources. Since 2011 as noted by the Dr Momis press statement, Bougainville Mining Law to End Backdoor Deals, in The National, (November 25, 2013) had been try to get control of resources in large parts of Bougainville but many people have resisted them after making use of their financial rains and this hurts.

And Semple and Rali cannot stop by having Kauona as they spokesman against the ABG. It is sad that foreigners are running a respected Bougainvillean Sam Kauona.

To the hurt Invincible caused on Bougainville ABG created its Bougainville Mining (Transitional Arrangements) Bill 2013 that shocks Morumbi Resources dozen MOUs with resources owners that is fighting for recognition by the ABG. This led Semple, Rali and Kauona to create own mining law, People’s Mining Bill, that is bad for Bougainville on one part where it gives all powers to landowners on all resources development and all Bougainvilleans are not partners through the ABG.

The trio wants ABG to throw away its mining law for they hate the provisions that the ABG is always are partner with the landowners of any resource projects and especially the trio target was Section 203A (Special Mining Lease) that seem under PNG Mining Act 1992 upholds the cruel Bougainville Copper Agreement Act of 1967.

But ABG says it is ‘transitional’ that needed for a peaceful and harmonious transition for Bougainville without conflict to existing PNG laws and scaring away possible investment attraction.  

But Semple and Rali could not stop pushing Sam Kauona everywhere turning him into a joke for the Bougainville politics literate community.

In a recent attack, Kauona, brought in the debate neo-colonialism and its major evidence it the presence of lawyer, Anthony Regan, his enemy number. But Regan began his enemy when he befriended Semple and Rali. Kauona worked with Regan in all the peace process efforts since late 1990s but Semple-Rali money is the problem for Sam Kauona.

Foreign money from Semple and Rali keeps his power status afloat around Bougainville; he does not care about the 55 years Morumbi Resources ownership of Bougainville mineral resources that is under a framework where only the landowners have right to exploitation or development and not the rest of Bougainvilleans who had suffered for this land due to mining in one part and their government and keep attacks ABG but his debate is like a child joking.


With Bougainville we talk about exploitation, indoctrination and genocide

Leonard Fong Roka

After invited by the Lowy Institute for its PNG New Voices Conference at the PNG’s National Research Institute (NRI) conference center in Port Moresby on the 29 of May, I had not much time to find resources to help my speech thus I frisk into my writing project, Bougainville Manifesto (in PNG Attitude) to get my talk.
The writing project I worked on since 2013 explores and comments on the Bougainville Island past, present and the future and I hope to publish as a way of preserving the  writing and bringing them to Bougainvilleans as a book.

At the conference there were people with more professional know-how into the issues ragging in PNG politics, culture and so on. And having the late afternoon session named as New Political Engagement in which my topic, The Prospects for Bougainville, was in made all a challenge, where people were exhausted by now and also PNG politics is ambiguous.  

My panel consisted of Douveri Henau, Executive Director of the Business Council Papua New Guinea and research staff at PNG Institute of National Affairs, as chairman; Arianne Kassman, who is a Youth Against Corruption Association Coordinator for Transparency International PNG, who spoke on the theme, Youth Participation in the Decision Making Process; Martyn Namorong, well known PNG commentator and blogger, who spoke on the topic, Using Social Media and Technology: Opportunities and Risks; myself and, Serah Sipani, a law degree holder from UPNG and Masters in Public and International Law from University of Melbourne, who spoke on the theme, National Identity.

For a bushman like me, such a unit of professionals is a scary lot thus I have to go straight to Bougainville reality with examples in PNG to feel immune from their professional scrutiny; and be at a safe coign to respond at question time but it did not happen.

Aided by a PowerPoint I began by saying that whenever we want to talk about Bougainville we must talk about three problems that faces the people of Bougainville. And these are exploitation, indoctrination and genocide.

Since the earliest colonial days, especially after the Germans took over the reign from the British during the 1886-1899 window, traders and planters flooded Bougainville and took over land for their cocoa and copra plantations for own benefit and not the owners of the land. They exploited Bougainville outright and in the 1960s the creation of the BCL’s Panguna mine and the birth of PNG in 1975 advanced exploitation to the skies for us Bougainvilleans.

To assist exploitation we have indoctrination supported by the rule of law, religion, and education and so on that degrades the Melanesian Way as evil or barbaric or insane. But these bad cultures of course sustained Melanesia for ages before colonization so PNG or Bougainville must not let go its fountain of dignity.

The two, exploitation and indoctrination, led to genocide; Bougainvilleans are losing their cultures, race, identity, dignity, resources and so on.

And I went on to get Ghana writer, Francis M. Deng’s words, from his article Ethnicity: An African Predicament, which states that Ethnicity is more than skin color or physical characteristics, more than language, song, and dance. It is the embodiment of values, institutions, and patterns of behavior, a composite whole representing a people's historical experience, aspirations, and world view. Deprive a people of their ethnicity, their culture, and you deprive them of their sense of direction or purpose.

In Melanesia we cannot advance without holding onto our epistemology and by empowering every little ethnic groups of Melanesia. Here it is clear that PNG is not a ‘nation’ as we love to say it; but it is a country of some 800 ‘nations’ but we deny ourselves or by killing ourselves. PNG will never get anywhere by celebrating the ‘umbrella’ PNG with all the 800 ‘nations’ packed into a bucket where the strongest keep aloof and the weak struggling for breath and causing political, economic and social chaos.

So here is the logic why we Bougainvilleans, being Solomon Islanders, had recognized our fate under PNG and had struggled for self determination since the 1960s. Under PNG our identity and dignity is fast eroding but our Bougainville Constitution is the finest set of laws that upholds our identity and dignity. But watching the political trends in line with educational, economic, political investment and so on we have a challenge of effectively and efficiently implementing that fine set of laws of Bougainville to free our island and people.

As I see it exploitation and indoctrination are so high in the post-crisis Bougainville. PNG ignores the way it keeps negating Bougainville people of Solomon Islands in the name of strengthening unity of PNG. For example, as it was with the pre-crisis Panguna mine, post crisis Bougainville despite producing on average 10 000 tons of cocoa between 2002 and 2006 (Cocoa Board of PNG) that could earn Bougainville about K300-500 million annually gave nothing to farmers. Simple answer is cocoa leaves Buka as Bougainville Cocoa but goes overseas as East New Britain Cocoa.

But I know that Bougainvilleans are learners and we are learning from all the wrongs others are making on us and those wrongs we ourselves are committing upon ourselves. And as our President Dr. John Momis loves to say: There is no way for Bougainville to go down; right from the concrete that was laid down, we will build a nation.