MAC: Mines and Communities

Bougainville MP - better a drunk Ozzie rugby team than further politicking!

Published by MAC on 2018-08-21
Source: Press Release (2018-08-20)

The long-awaited Referedum for the citizens of Bougainville, draws ever closer.

However, doubt remainsg as to whether the Papua New Guinea government will respect the expected  results, and concede true independence for the island's citizenry.

Meanwhile, the Member of Parliament for Selau and former Vice President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government. Joseph Watawi, who is also chair of the Parliamentar Select Committe for referendum preparation, has warned against further Australian interfernce in the democratic process.

 


BOUGAINVILLE MP TELLS AUSTRALIA, ‘STOP THE POLITICAL INTERFERENCE AND DO
SOMETHING USEFUL.’

Press Release by Joseph Watawi

20 August 2018

 The Bougainville Member for Selau and former Vice President of the
 Autonomous Bougainville Government Joseph Watawi has criticised Australia
 for political interference in Bougainville domestic affairs in the lead up
 to the 2019 independence referendum.

 Mr Watawi also suggested that Australia would have achieved more influence
 and respect in Bougainville if they had replaced their foreign and AID
 corps with a drunk rugby team.

 Mr Watawi said; “ Without consultation the Australian Government have set
 ‘advisors’ in all of our political offices whilst making only tokenistic
 efforts to actually help the people here.

 “Let us not be naive, Australian AID is not about helping people but about
 gaining political power and influence, the problem is that in Melanesian
 cultures to only way for outsiders like Australians to gain political
 power and influence is to actually start at the grass roots and help
 people and communities.

The top down approach of the Australians of attempting to hijack our
political system merely confirms the suspicions of many Bougainville
people that the Australian program is one of spying and jockeying for
position over our natural resources in the lead up to next years
independence referendum.

The real task facing the Australian Government and their
representativeness here is to deal with Australia’s legacy issues. It was
the Australian owned mine at Panguna that started the Bougainville war
that led to the deaths of at least ten thousand Bougainvilleans and it was
Australian helicopters and pilots who contributed to that death toll
shooting people from the air and burning villages.

Australia also contributed to the naval blockade of southern Bougainville
stopping essential food and medical supplies from reaching civilians in
the conflict area.

In the past ten years we Bougainvilleans have put a lot of work into the
reconciliation process amongst our various factions and language groups,
Australia as one of the key causes of the war has been noticeably absent
from this process.

If you go to the Panguna pit today and ask the women who are the
traditional landowners there they will tell you that in the life the
wealthiest mine on the planet at the time they did not get paid enough to
buy food from the mine supermarket

Mr Watawi said, if Australia is genuine about rebuilding its relationship
with us they need to send us useful people like nurses, doctors, teachers
engineers etc. not bureaucrats. Australia would have won more power and
influence here if they had sent us a drunk rugby team rather than their
current batch of bureaucrats.

Compare this to New Zealand who have slowly and carefully with great
cultural awareness built the Bougainville police force and law and justice
sector since the signing of the peace agreement in 2001. The result of
which is that New Zealand is a trusted and respected international
partner and member of our community.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT THE HON. JOSEPH WATAWI MP MEMBER
FOR SEALU AND CHAIRMAN PARLIAMENTARY SELECT COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE FOR
REFERENDUM PREPARATION, WEAPONS DISPOSAL, PEACE, & UNIFICATION.

0011 675 72553486


MP upset at Australian advisors in Bougainville

Bougainville is due to vote next year on whether to remain part of Papua New Guinea or choose independence.

Donor nations have started increasing their support but MP Joseph Watawi is taking issue with Australia sending in teams of advisers, without consultation.

He says the advisers are there to gain political power and influence for Australia when what Bougainville needs are nurses, doctors and engineers.

Mr Watawi told Don Wiseman he thinks the Australian assistance is focused on the possible re-emergence of the former Australian owned mining company, Bougainville Copper Ltd - the company which sparked the Bougainville crisis.

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