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17 August 2017

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Chris Baria

Due to our foolishness and the lack of hindsight coupled with self-interest, we almost lost a great opportunity to lobby for Bougainville's Independence.

The "Melanesian Indigenous Land Defense Alliance" (MILDA) was stopped at Panguna from holding meetings at Kavaronau.

"New Generation" a pro-mining group told the Roka family who were supposed to host the meetings, that NGOs were not allowed in Panguna because they might disrupt the process of reopening the mine there.

This, they said was under the orders from BEC and Fidelis Semoso, ABG Minister for Commerce and Economic Development.

One of the reasons why MILDA came over was to see the level of preparedness for the Referendum vote in 2019 so that they can start to lobby for it's outcome which is independence for Bougainville.

There are several facts that we must understand about the forthcoming referendum. Firstly, referendum is not for outright independence as many people believe. It is for political future of Bougainville.

The referendum outcome is not binding to Papua New Guinea, therefore it may or may not chose to ratify the referendum outcome.

It is therefore vital that we seek support of our Pacific neighbours to lobby for independence in the event that GoPNG does not ratify Bougainville's Independence.

MILDA has offered to help wherever and however they can. They had been instrumental in the past in getting the Kanaky independence movement of New Caledonia into the Melanesian Spearhead Group with observer status.

The MILDA meeting was relocated to Arawa where it was well received by the community of Central Bougainville who made significant contributions towards the success of the MILDA program in Central Bougainville.

The MILDA team went away not only satisfied but impressed with the people and how willing they were to share information and experiences they go through every day and in the past. They also shared their vision of Bougainville's future with the visiting team.

Martinez Wasuak

When you stand up for what you think is right, God is behind you.

Take Care Leonard, Theo and the rest of the family members.

Chris Baria

I am behind you and Theo my brother. Stand up for your family, and stand up for the truth. It will prevail.

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