Bougainvilleans in Solomons: Last Chance to Enrol

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Bougainville Referendum Commission Officers, Lesley S. Gagesin and Douglas Pisi.

THE Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) has announced the last phase of enrollment for Bougainvilleans living in the Solomon Islands.

BRC officials Ms. Lesley Siowi Gagesin and Mr. Douglas Pisi arrived in the Solomon Islands over the weekend to start the public display of the preliminary referendum roll in Gizo on Monday and Tuesday, before returning to Honiara.

“In Gizo we will be at the Women’s Resource Centre and we encourage all Bougainvillean residents eligible to enroll to come to check the roll and register if their name if they are not yet enrolled,” said Ms. Gagesin. “We will do the same at the PNG High Commission on Thursday and Friday.”

She highlighted that this is the last chance to enroll before the issue of the Writ on 27 September, ahead of voting which begins 23 November 2019.

“Our message to all Bougainvilleans living here in the Solomon Islands is that if they want to vote in November, they must enroll now to be on the referendum roll. If you are not enrolled, your vote will not be counted.”

The eligibility criteria established by the two governments for non-resident Bougainvilleans are:

  • Have links to Bougainville either by birth, adoption, marriage, or clan
  • Be born on or before 12 October 2001
  • Are a PNG citizen, and
  • Are entitled to vote in PNG National Elections

People must satisfy all criteria and cannot be a dual citizen.

In support of the call, her colleague, Mr. Pisi, stressed that the Bougainville referendum is a historic event.

“Before enrolment, we’ve had pressure coming from Bougainvilleans living outside of Papua New Guinea, especially in the Solomon Islands and Australia to make the referendum as inclusive as possible. The BRC has heard their cries and we are here now for the second time to enroll eligible people.”

“The Bougainville Referendum Commission has gone above and beyond to offer enrolment of Bougainvilleans living overseas,” Mr. Pisi said. “This is a national first for citizens of Papua New Guinea. However, people must now do their part over the next few days.”

During public display people can check: 1) if their name and details are correct, or you want to object to a name you think is not eligible. If you did not enroll in July, you can do so now and we will assist you.”

The dates and locations for enrolment are as follows:

GIZO: Women’s Resource Centre, Monday and Tuesday, 16 – 17 September

HONIARA: PNG High Commission, Thursday and Friday 19 – 20 September

The Bougainville Referendum will provide Bougainvilleans with a choice of greater autonomy or independence for Bougainville. Polling Centres will be provided in Gizo and Honiara (specific date to be decided).