Happy New Year 2018.
I am at Buka, Bougainville and welcome the New Year an hour before the rest of Papua New Guinea.
It’s less significant but it probably has an underlying message for Bougainville.
The autonomous region must be ahead of Papua New Guinea on how things are managed and functioning.
History has it that Bougainville leaders led a first ceasationist movement to break away from Papua New Guinea before Independence on September 16, 1975.
Many Bougainvilleans have been trailblazers in many specialities and thus indicates a knowledge base and innovative ingenuity that’s wide and if used adequately can yield success in development.
And when I say development I meant change that is responsible towards future generations and change that subscribes to full compliance of rules, laws and procedures.
There is no speck of corruption in it.
The region has couple of big agenda to deal with.
Referendum is eighteen months away and South Bougainville MP Timothy Masiu raised in PNG Parliament in the November session of 2017 that many people know little about it.
It’s a sad feedback when a bureau of media and communications has been in existence with funding from several donor agencies including Australian Government to carry out education and awareness.
The people of Bougainville must demand to know what the communications strategies have been and what are the results so far as opposed to the statement in Parliament by Hon. Timothy Masiu.
We must accept that eighteen months is short and appropriate education and awareness must be implemented and we hope the feedback is good this time.
Political future of young Bougainvilleans depend on those who are eighteen and over come June 2019 when they vote on Referendum.
It’s important that a well informed decision is made before taking a vote that’s for the future generation.
Bougainville also needs to work at turning around good “Internal Revenue” to fund it’s development aspirations rather than waiting and complaining about PNG government to make funds available.
Ultimately if it was going to-be independent in eighteen months time it must raise enough money to run its affairs.
Public services in Bougainvilleans needs a wake up and commitment to work.
We must be consistent in our ethics to work.
Above all there must be corruption free in all aspects and operations of each departmental work.
There is already views that the autonomous government has been seen as a cash cow for few who put in questionable claims to receive money.
And if the claims are vetted and put on hold, the government officers are threatened and assaulted.
These attitudes do not support a progression for Bougainville and must be condemned and anyone who employs such must self analyse and refrain from doing it in the New Year.
The region suffers so much from post conflict misconceptions that hinder progression and steers people’s perceptions and general opinions away from being subjected to law and order.
I’ve met and chatted with several young men from Bougainville who claim they live in “oulawed” communities because they have come out from a crisis situation they need to make ends meet however manner they wish too.
Ones argument is that homebrew production and sale cannot be banned because it’s quick money for people.
Though in this area there is cocoa available, there are production processes to go through before its sold and money is earned.
But how long can we use that issue of crisis in an attempt to justify our illegal productions that’s a health risk?
How can we use an effective education and awareness campaign to make people aware about post crisis development plans that aims to develop an independent, happy, healthy, wealthy and prosperous Bougainville?
We just need to get the basics right in 2018 and beyond.
Happy New Year 2018 Bougainville and Papua New Guinea.