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Missing Names on Bougainville Referendum Rolls a concern

Missing names on the Referendum Rolls is still a concern for voters in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

The Joint Supervisory Body meeting in Buka last week had resolved that the region is ready for the referendum to take place.

Bougainville will be voting on the two options of either independence from Papua New Guinea or greater autonomy.

But the question remains if all eligible voters will actually participate in the vote.

Preliminary rolls are already out on display since September 6 around Bougainville and mainland Papua New Guinea where voting will take place, and the display will be pulled down next Thursday September 26, before writs for the Referendum are issued the next day September 27.

During the roll display period, all eligible voters have been urged to check their names in order to ensure their participation during polling.

Actual voting gets underway in late November and ends in December.

These dates have also been confirmed by the JSB meeting.

But Chairman of the Arawa Urban Community Government, Augustin Barkson, told NBC News in Arawa, that missing names is still an issue that must be adequately addressed.

"Problem em bai dispela. Sapos nem nogat man/meri nonap vote.

"BRC ol imas updatim gut roll so olgeta manmeri imas igat nem.

"Mi bin witnesim steret long wanpela ward bilong mipela, we ol ibin igat 510 voters, tasol 86 names tasol ibin stap (on the preliminary roll).

"Sapos dispela emi wankain hevi throughout long region, em bai bikpela problem.

"Ol lain husait i lukautim roll imas steretim na olgeta nem imas kamap gut."

Prime Minister James Marape also revealed that the JSB has heard that weapons disposal has been reached at a very high degree, rendering the region referendum ready.

"Testament to the fact is that statistics-wise, we're in the high 90% in terms of weapons submitted back for disposal or have been disposed.

"So by any measure, globally speaking this is part of the highest achievement ever in the process of us moving towards a referendum that is free from intimidation, free from fear or favour."

The Bougainville Referendum Commission has recorded over 200,000 voters and counting, who will be eligible for the November Referendum.

NBC News/ PNG Today

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