Bougainville. Papua New Guinea press review

The Autonomous Region of Bougainville Government says it’s concerned at the slow turnaround of COVID-19 testing. The Deputy Controller of the Bougainville State of Emergency, Thomas Raivet, said samples taken from «persons of Interest» and sent to the Institute of Medical Research in Goroka, in the PNG Highlands, more than two weeks ago had still not arrived back. Mr Raivet appealed to the centre, in Port Moresby, to ensure the results are sent back to Bougainville as soon as possible. There are no confirmed cases in Bougainville as yet. Meanwhile, an isolation facility was being built in Buka to house any possible victims of the coronavirus. The construction had funding support from Australia and New Zealand. Meanwhile, ARB President, John Momis, told the public it was critical they continued to follow the State of Emergency orders put in place to contain COVID-19. According to Mr Momis, Bougainville had no capacity to contain the pandemic if it reached the region’s shores and the only solution was for people to stay at home and follow directions. [1]

At the same time, Bougainville election process underway during emergency. The nominations for candidates will remain open until the 23rd of June 2020 with the poll itself starting on the 12th of August and last until the 1st of September 2020. [2]

The ARB President John Momis said that he was backing Thomas Raivet, who had been Bougainville’s Chief Secretary. «I have decided to be involved in the campaign for my nominee for the presidential seat because the next government will have the responsibility to complete what I feel, consciously and strongly, that I began in 1972 when the people of Bougainville sent me on a mission, » Mr. Momis said.
However, Bougainville’s Minister for Peace Agreement Implementation, Albert Punghau, said formal talks between the two governments are expected to take about a year. In turn, Mr Momis said that that he had been assured by Mr. Raivet that he would be made a special envoy for Bougainville, with particular emphasis on the negotiations over the recent independence referendum of 2019. [3]

Two prominent Bougainvilleans are involved in the latest developments ahead of the upcoming elections. The head of Papua New Guinea’s National Council of Women, Theresa Jaintong, announced that she’ll stand in the August elections. Meanwhile, a former commander in the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA), Ishmael Toroama, has launched a political party Bougainville People’s Alliance (BPA). The party intended to run candidates in all 33 electorates. Mr Toroama said the party’s vision was to make Bougainville a partner of choice in the global community.
Now there are 25 people, including two women, contesting the position of ARB President. [4] [1] https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/414757/bougainville-government-worried-about-speed-of-covid-19-results
[2] https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/2018751412/bougainville-election-process-underway-during-emergency
[3] https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/419881/momis-backs-thomas-raivet-to-win-bougainville-presidency
[4] https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/419433/prominent-bougainvilleans-make-moves-towards-elections
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