BOUGAINVILLE president Dr John Momis has strongly rebuked the Jubilee Australia organisation for claiming that opposition to re-opening the Panguna copper and gold mine is “near universal”.
On its website, Jubilee Australia says its mission is to “promote accountability for the causes of poverty and injustice in the Asia Pacific” and “elevate the voice of affected communities”.
Earlier this year it conducted a survey of 65 people in the Panguna area and has just published a report entitled Voices of Bougainville.
In a letter obtained by PNG Attitude, Dr Momis calls the report “factually inaccurate, biased, methodologically unsound and dishonest in claiming that interviews with 65 individuals selected by its authors allows it to represent the voices of 300,000 Bougainvilleans.”
Dr Momis added that these failures “have been compounded by even more inaccurate public statements about the Report and its findings made by Jubilee Chief Executive, Brynnie Goodwill.”
He said that many of the “grave errors in the report could have been avoided had those involved in the work simply consulted the elected and representative Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG).”
“The most fundamental and also dishonest aspect of the Jubilee research,” Dr Momis said, “is to claim, as it does in the title, to represent Voices of Bougainville.
“The research interviewed just 65 people in the Panguna mine lease areas that have an estimated population of perhaps 10,000. It failed to speak with people from any other part of Bougainville, all of whom were of course affected by the Bougainville conflict.
“Use of the title Voices of Bougainville constitutes misrepresentation of a serious and indeed dangerous sort.”
In his long response to Jubilee Australia’s report (we link below to both report and response), Dr Momis questioned the integrity of the research itself.
“There are clear indications that the research methodology used was … designed to bring about a specific result,” he said.
“In particular, the choice of people to interview was not based on any scientific sampling technique. Rather the researchers approached ‘culturally appropriate gatekeepers … identified on the basis of the researchers’ customary knowledge of villagers … and through guidance from local contacts …’
“We are not told the identity of the ‘local contacts’ or ‘village gatekeepers’.
“Against this background, I strongly suspect that the researchers contacted people they knew were opposed to mining and that these contacts, not unnaturally, suggested participants that they too knew were opposed to mining.
“This is the only credible explanation as to how 65 of 65 interviewees would all express opposition to mining.”
Dr Momis concluded his rebuttal by writing that “the Jubilee Report is deeply flawed” and that “Jubilee Australia’s Board bears responsibility for allowing such a misleading and irresponsible document to be released, and for limiting and redressing the damage it can cause.”
Read the Jubilee Australia Report here