A village elders’ meeting in Bougainville last month turned into an angry debate over the lack of development in the Panguna District due to lack of funding.
“We have had enough,” Maria Dunsimora of the Oune Village Assembly burst out.
“There is money. Our money is with Rio Tinto and the PNG government. We vote leaders to Port Moresby and the ABG (Autonomous Bougainville Government) to find ways to get that money. But what do they do? They have forgotten us.
“ABG was in existence since 2005,” Maria continued, “and what have they done? Jimmy Miringtoro came and told us that he will deal with BCL, Rio Tinto and PNG over the environmental degradation we the Panguna people now live with, but I am yet to witness that.
“We placed Michael Oni in the ABG and now he is the Mining minister, but again he does not know Panguna’s needs.”