PM MARAPE ARRIVES IN KOKOPO FOR JOINT PNG GOVERNMENT AND ABG CONSULTATIONS

The Prime Minister Hon James Marape MP has arrived and is in the East New Britain Provincial capital, Kokopo for the Joint Governmental Consultation Process between the National Government and Autonomous Bougainville Government this week.

He was accompanied by his spouse Rachelle Marape including several senior cabinet Ministers. Prime Minister and his delegation was received on arrival by East New Britain Governor Nakikus Konga and his officials.

Prime Minister’s ministerial delegation included Works Minister Michael Nali, Provincial and Local Level Government Affairs Minister Pila Niningi, Transport Minister William Samb, Public Service Minister Joe Sungi, Justice Minister Byran Kramer, Health Minister Jelta Wong, Vice Minister for Bougainville Affairs Peter Tsiamalili Jnr, Governor for Oro Gary Juffa, Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas, and senior PNG Government officials.

The Joint Governmental Consultation Process starts tomorrow Tuesday 18th May at the Gazelle International Hotel between leaders, technical experts and governmental officials from the National Government and the ABG.

This is the First Joint Governmental Consultation process and will be followed by a series of meetings between the political leaders and technical officials from the PNG National Government and the ABG to iron out issues and agendas items to be discussed in the Joint Supervisory Body-JSB meeting scheduled in Wabag, Enga province next month.

This Joint Governmental Consultation Process meeting follows the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the National Government and the ABG in Port Moresby last week.

Prime Minister James Marape and ABG President Ishmael Toroama signed the Joint MOA on the Dispensation of Constitutional Requirements relating to the Process of Transfer of Functions and Powers pursuant to Section 295 of the National constitution.

That Agreement will pave the way forward and has enabled the two leaders Prime Minister Marape and President Toroama who have agreed that under section 295 (a) &(b) of the National Constitution, irrespective of whether a request was made or not by the ABG since the establishment of the Autonomous Bougainville Government, the powers are now dispensed forthwith effective at the date of the signing.

It removes any hinderance which also include the issuance of a 12month notice by the ABG to request certain powers to be drawn down from the National Government.

Prime Minister Marape said during the signing of the MOA that the National Government he leads is committed to a strong and lasting peace and political settlement on the Island.

He said the agreement is a commitment by the National Government to ensure certain powers and functions required by the ABG to create a pathway and the ground work to fully implement the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA) is carried out smoothly and in a peaceful manner.

Prime Minister Marape said the National Government has heard the voices of Bougainvilleans from the results of the referendum with 97 percent voting for independence and asked the two governments to put a roadmap forward to implement the BPA.

This Joint Governmental Consultation Process is amongst the first of many consultations that will take place to deliberate on the outcomes of the referendum which is yet to be ratified by the National Parliament following and after such a series of consultations.

The two governments officials will set the agendas to be discussed in the JSB in Wabag and outline the post referendum consultations between the National Government and ABG.

Under the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA) the results of the referendum are non-binding meaning it is not final and that the Joint consultations will have to be done before the National Parliament ratifies it.

The two leaders Prime Minister Marape and ABG President Toroama are here in Kokopo along with their government and consultation teams for the first Joint Government Consultation process which ends of Thursday.

Prime Minister Marape will overnight in Kokopo and witness the formal opening of the Joint Governmental Consultation Process before returning to Port Moresby on Tuesday.