Independence must not be compromised: Bougainville President


Bougainville’s political aspirations on independence must never be compromised, says ABG president Ishmael Toroama.

He said this while speaking at the launching of the Bougainville Constitutional Planning Commission Awareness and Consultations in North, Central and South Bougainville.

Toroama said if Bougainvilleans wish to fulfill the choice by 97.7 percent of the people who opted for independence from Papua New Guinea in the 2019 Bougainville referendum, they must never compromise or settle for anything less.

“Compromise by the past leadership is the reason why Bougainville has remained tethered to Papua New Guinea for the last 70 years,” he said.

“Bougainville’s political aspirations and economic resources were compromised by these leaders for the benefit of a greater Papua New Guinea.”

President Toroama said the compromises of the past will not be the path his government will emulate but vowed that the current Autonomous Bougainville Government will provide the strong leadership necessary to attain independence for Bougainville.

So far the ABG has worked hard to create a political pathway that is within the legal framework of the Bougainville Peace Process and the post referendum joint consultations with the national government.

Abiding by this the ABG is in the process of drafting a new Constitution as Bougainville anticipates independence from PNG, he said.

“I urge every Bougainvillean to take part in the constitutional making process to ensure the new Constitution for an Independent Bougainville reflects the true aspirations of our people,” Toroama said.

“We must make sure our new constitution is homegrown in the sense that we avoid copying foreign political ideals that are not practical on Bougainville.

“The new constitution will determine what type of economic model we want, what type of government we want and guarantee the civil liberties of our people.”

He said the people have voted for independence, it is now the government’s obligation to complete the necessary processes to bring the people’s wish into reality.