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Masono calls on O'Neill Govt to release funds meant for Bougainville Referendum Commission

The Papua New Guinea Government has been called on to quickly release funds meant for the Bougainville Referendum Commission as the Referendum is now less than six months away.
The ABG Vice President, RAYMOND MASONO made the call following concerns raised by the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner, GEORGE MANU aired on New Dawn FM this week.
He said this does not risk delaying the referendum, but the quality of the process of preparations, credibility of the referendum and also the outcome.
MR. MASONO said that the most important activity is the development of the referendum roll with the names of all eligible voters because without this, there will not be any referendum.
He said that previous experiences have shown that the PNG Electoral Commission and the Bougainville electoral commission never get it right when it comes to electoral rolls.
Many people are always turned away and denied their constitutional rights to vote during elections because their names are not on the common roll.
He said for this reason, the ABG previously agreed to use Community Government ward recorders to develop the referendum roll from the bottom-up given their familiarity with eligible voters in their respective communities.
Although developing the common roll is now the responsibility of the BRC, it is important that the shortcomings of previous electoral commission rolls are not repeated.
He said that eligible voters who have registered and want to vote must not be turned away during polling day because their names are not on the common roll.
MR. MASONO also said it is possible that every Bougainvillean will be asked to contribute to funding certain aspects of the referendum and our people must be prepared to do just that.
‘This referendum is ours and if the national government cannot honour its commitment, we must be ready to demonstrate out patriotism by contributing towards its conduct’, he said.

New Dawn FM
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