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Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) Commissioner Ruby Mirinka says Bougainvilleans have taken full ownership of the referendum process.
Speaking to media in Port Moresby about the recent BRC Roadshow around Bougainville and PNG provinces, she said people are aware and committed to the process.
“Bougainvilleans are excited. They have waited for almost 20 years for this chance to have their say,” Mirinka said.
Responding to community concerns about security, she said that Community Governments, the Bougainville Police Service and the people they have talked to all said the vote would be held in a peaceful environment.
“People have reconciled in preparation for the vote – both large events between former combatants and the PNG Defence Force, and at the community level.”
“We have close to equal men and women enrolled to vote. This shows women are confident that the vote will be a free and peaceful one.”
“Trust the process, respect the process, the world is watching us all.”
Chief Referendum Officer Mauricio Claudio reaffirmed that people should be confident that all referendum processes followed the laws, international best practice, and was being conducted to a higher standard than previous electoral process in Papua New Guinea and Bougainville.
“Bougainvilleans, and all parties to the process, can put their trust in the Bougainville Referendum Commission to deliver a free and fair vote,” Mauricio Claudio said.
“We have trained over 1,500 BRC officials, and no matter where they come from, they all come under the command and control of the BRC.”
“The two governments appointed the BRC to be an independent agency, as well as the highly respected former Prime Minister of Ireland to be the Chair. And the Commission has appointed me to implement operations.”
The Chief Referendum Officer said that while no electoral roll was perfect, the BRC had done its best.
“We know there are a few individuals have not made an effort to enrol themselves before the Issue of the Writ, but we request on behalf of those that have, to not disturb polling places by trying to vote,” Claudio said.
“On behalf of the overwhelming majority who are enrolled, let’s keep the polling process a respectful, joyful and peaceful one,” he said.
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