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By Staff Reporter : PNG Today

PM O'Neill Calls for Leaders to be Aware of Bougainville Sensitivities

The Prime Minister,  Peter O’Neill  has warned John Momis not to play politics and use the peace process as leverage to get his hands on Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) shares.
The Prime Minister issued the caution after the President of the Bougainville Government complained that the government would be transferring 17.4 per cent of BCL shares direct to landowners and other community stakeholders.
“We have had enough of this nonsense and attempts manipulate the peace process for political gain.
“The ABG is very welcome to participate in the consultation process with the landowners, but these shares will go to the people who have a direct stake of the mine.
“I really do not understand what President Momis is trying to achieve with this political grandstanding.
“The views of the ABG were taken into account in Cabinet, but the decision of NEC is final, and I hope President Momis can understand this.
“Our government is committed to advancing the peace process, and not play petty politics that can only undermine peace.
“I stated in Parliament last week that I have deliberately given these shares to the people so that the ABG does not have outright control 53 percent of the mine.
“I wanted a separate vehicle so that the landowners can fully, meaningfully and directly participate in BCL.
“This is better for transparency, and ensures that shares are in the hands of the traditional people to whom they belong.”
The Prime Minister further stated that the reason for transferring the shares to the people, and not the ABG, was to provide better support to the people with a connection to the land.
“I understand that under the mining laws of the ABG, only five per cent of income received by the ABG for the mine would be allocated to the landowners.
“I did not believe that was sufficient considering the suffering that the landowners in Bougainville have endured.”
PM O’Neill further warned of the sensitivities that surround discussion of the mine, and that many of these matters need to be resolved by the people of Bougainville.
“Leaders need to be responsible when discussing issues of national interest and security.
“The distribution of shares for Bougainvilleans will be done by themselves.
“They will consult on who gets what percentage out of that 17.4 per cent.
“These shares are gift and we think that it is the right thing to do to pass it over to the people of Bougainville, especially the landowners.
“On the matter of the opening of the mine, this depends entirely on the wishes of the people of Bougainville.
“The National Government is not participating whatsoever in that matter.
“Any discussion of the reopening of the mine is entirely up to the ABG and the people of Bougainville.”

Posted by Staff Reporter : PNG Today on 2:29 AM. Filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Share this Article


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