Papua New Guinea Shadow Minister for Bougainville Affairs Sir Puka Temu has condemned the miscommunication and blame game propagated by Prime Minister James Marape over the shifting of the JSB meeting dates.

Sir Puka stated that it was unbecoming of Marape to blame our Bougainvillean counterparts over a delay, when it was in fact caused by his team.

Sir Puka made these remarks after ABG Attorney General and Minister for Bougainville Independence Mission Ezekiel Masatt clarified that it was the Minister for Bougainville Affairs Manasseh Makiba who requested for a deferral late Monday night.

Sir Puka said: “It was mistrust that led to the crisis. It was mistrust that compelled the development of and signing of the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA), and it will be mistrust that will derail the entire process especially the last leg of the BPA – the post-referendum process.

“PM Marape must command the respect to gain the trust of the leaders and people of Bougainville.

“This debacle this week where this important JSB meeting has been continuously postponed because of the unpreparedness of the Prime Minister has to stop and be condemned by all members of parliament.

“PM must stick to his commitment and maintain the sanctity of the importance of Bougainville’s political future.”

Sir Puka said we all agree it’s a serious matter, but its time to show it.

“I ask the Prime Minister who his advisors are on this last leg of the BPA, as his recent actions are symptomatic of misinformation and incompetence.

“All along the United Nations and global experts have been engaged but it appears that this government has no such experts in this important national issue.

“The world is watching – the world is looking for an example of how peace agreements can be successfully concluded.

“PNG needs to show the world we can be a beacon of hope in a world in crisis right now – that agreements can be achieved and reached,” Sir Puka urged.

Meanwhile, Opposition leader Douglas Tomuriesa slammed the deferral of an important meeting between Bougainville and National Government leaders, describing it as “unacceptable”.

“It is another disappointing situation for the Autonomous Bougainville Government over the deferment of the JSB meeting,” Tomuriesa said. “While I am not privy for the reasons behind the delay, all I can say is it is completely unacceptable for the PNG government to keep shifting the goal posts in this matter.

“The original JSB meeting was supposed to be held long ago at the start of the year.

“Then three weeks ago, the government said it would be held. “Then they delayed it for another three weeks. Now today (Monday) we heard it was delayed to Wednesday again.

“What is going on? Surely it shouldn’t be this complicated to host a meeting? If the prime minister is delaying it on his part, he needs to seriously prioritise this important dialogue and sit down with the ABG President.

“We cannot continue to meander around this issue, especially when it is at a crucial stage on the eve of ratification. “I urge the Prime Minister and the Minister for Bougainville Affairs to prioritise this JSB meeting. Tomorrow this meeting must go as planned.

No more delays.” The Joint Supervisory Body meeting was deferred from Monday to Wednesday.

But Prime Minister James Marape said the deferral was requested by the Autonomous Bougainville Government to allow their technical team to clarify certain issues.