A Bougainvillean is person with a culture and that culture is secured in a land known as Bougainville in a territory known as the Solomon archipelago which is a self-sustaining entity.
In Bougainville Manifesto 13, I wrote that:
If cocoa grows in Bougainville, then Bougainville must produce chocolate powder; if coffee grows on Bougainville, then Bougainville must produce coffee powder; if a coconut palm sways on Bougainville, then Bougainville must produce oil cosmetics; if the sea girds Bougainville, then Bougainville must produce fish products; and if the Bougainville child is born on land, then that child owns the land and everything that grows on it belongs to him but he must care for it and trade it
And in the tiny sea of islands that Bougainville is part of in the Pacific, self-sustaining economic and political models are vital. Such a system must not be too capitalistic but should be centred on the welfare of the people.
In Section 40 of the Bougainville Constitution (Structure and Levels of Government) it is stated:
Government in Bougainville shall consist of—
the Autonomous Bougainville Government in accordance with Division 2 (Autonomous Bougainville Government); and
a level or levels of formal government below the level of the Autonomous Bougainville Government in accordance with Division 3 (other levels of formal government); and
the traditional system of government in accordance with Division 4 (traditional system of government)
Under the autonomy arrangement this three-level system is already active and it has proven to be inclusive of all Bougainvilleans in the decision-making process. Currently Bougainville has four levels of government, the Village Assembly being added recently.
The first level of government, is the Village Assembly, is centered in the village where there are different clans with their own governing structures that come together to make decisions about village affairs.
Village Assemblies have representation at the next level, the Council of Elders (CoE), whose members are elected.
CoEs come together at District level with a more public policy oriented than political agenda.
The fourth and top level is the parliament of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG).
Whatever the level of government, the fundamental question relates to the roles and responsibilities of each level.
There’s a general answer to this: at any level, the major collective task is the sustenance of a mutual state-citizen relationship.
The Bougainville state should be advancing in regional and international politics, its economy should be functional in the global capitalistic system and the citizens of Bougainville should be a happy lot and not experiencing chronic disparity and struggle.
For a tiny island like Bougainville with few resources and a growing population, a happy state-citizen relationship is paramount.
Perhaps there is scope in Bougainville to design a political system based on the Bhutanese politics of Gross National Happiness (GNH) whereby material and spiritual development occur side by side and complement and reinforce each other.
Bougainville and its people are known for struggles against exploitation, indoctrination and subjection to genocide.
So the four pillars of Gross National Happiness can be the way forward. They are the promotion of sustainable development, the preservation and promotion of cultural values, conservation of the natural environment and the establishment of good governance.
The application of the welfare concept of development in Bougainville points to government working to alleviate poverty, focus on human wellbeing and improve equality.
Participatory or social democracy should be the system for Bougainville making Gross National Happiness, welfare, human capital investment and sustainable development as the national Bougainville state pillars.
This also reflects the Nordic model, as Wikipedia explains it:
…. a "universalist" welfare state (relative to other developed countries) which is aimed specifically at enhancing individual autonomy, promoting social mobility and ensuring the universal provision of basic human rights, as well as for stabilizing the economy; alongside a commitment to free trade. The Nordic model is distinguished from other types of welfare states by its emphasis on maximizing labor force participation, promoting gender equality, egalitarian and extensive benefit levels, the large magnitude of income redistribution, and liberal use of expansionary fiscal policy
Bougainville must encompass such political models to survive. For Bougainville to exist under globalisation, the people of Bougainville must be secure and safe, they must be in a peaceful environment, they must be free, they must be participating, they must be educated, and they must be standing on their traditional values to become a stable and advancing democracy.
The success of Bougainville’s political system will depend on a peaceful citizen-state relationship. And the citizen-state relationship must be enhanced by getting every person to know their place in society, know their culture and other Bougainvillean peoples, know their land and environment and know their country’s place in the global village.