President Momis ushers in new members of Bougainville House of representatives

President of the autonomous Bougainville government John Momis. Picture: RNZ

BUKA, 06 NOVEMBER 2018 (POST COURIER) – President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) has welcomed the three new members to the ranks as new member-elects of the Bougainville House of Representatives.

The new Members for Taunita Teop Albert Toro, Member for Halia Gordon Batek and the Member for Kongara Steven Topesi.

“I congratulate you for having been given the mandate by your people to lead them in the ABG.” “As leaders you have been chosen to lead and lead you must as your leadership must be exemplified through your actions that must inculcate moral and ethical values and principles of social justice, “ said Momis. You must be humble and willing to serve, you must have empathy to understand your people, you must have integrity to lead your people and you must be courageous to stand up for their rights. “Your leadership must also be in respect to the guiding principles of democracy.

“Be reminded that in a democracy the just powers of government are based upon the consent of the governed. I would like to remind you that your new role is that of a legislator, a law maker in the highest governing body on Bougainville.”

He told the members that they are obligated to serve their people and not to aggrandise themselves. “ Your election to the Bougainville House of Representatives comes at a very crucial and definitive period in Bougainville’s history; we are in fact creating history in itself.

“We are a highly favoured people, we are the only region in Papua New Guinea that have a constitutionalised right to determine our own future to become independent or remain with PNG through the referendum,” he said.

Momis said Bougainville stands on the threshold of a new socio-economic and political order and this calls for unity and solidarity in Bougainville.

“As you take your seats in the Bougainville House of Representatives, I ask you to bear in mind that this right to self-determination is a privilege.

“Your leadership must allow the active participation of your constituents to partake in development in an all-inclusive manner. It is imperative that we present a unified front as we approach the referendum which will take place in no less than eight months.

“I have often stated this and I will say it again, unity is our strongest bargaining power so there must be solidarity in the Bougainville leadership, there must be solidarity among the bureaucracy and there must be solidarity amongst our people,” he said.

“As new leaders of Bougainville you will be at the helm of Bougainville’s destiny so we must maintain solidarity and we must remain vigilant against the forces that want to derail the dream that is of a united and strong Bougainville.