THE Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) has opened registrations in Gizo for Bougainvilleans living in the Western province.
The registration commenced yesterday till Saturday the 13th of July at the Women’s Centre in Gizo.
In the early 2000’s both the Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Bougainville Government signed a peace agreement that had within it a clause that allowed Bougainville to have a referendum 15 years after the signing.
As decided an independent body would be formed to facilitate the election of the referendum and so the BRC came to be.
The commission currently in preparation and a key stage being the registration of Bougainvilleans living in Bougainville, PNG, Solomon Islands and Australia in areas that have been identified to have numbers.
The BRC is not only working to facilitate their people’s right to vote, but to also maintain integrity and transparency to ensure the referendum is free and fair.
Representatives of the BRC currently taking registrations in Gizo, are calling on their fellow countrymen and women living in the Western province to travel to Gizo and register themselves.
They reiterated that their position is solely as BRC registrars and assure its people in the province that their job here is to give them a chance to be part of this vital event.
A process of validating a person’s eligibility to vote is in place to make sure that anyone registering is truly who they say they are and fairly take part in the voting.
It is the understanding many Bougainvilleans may have travelled to the Solomon Islands to flee the crisis days and not have the proper government documentation with them.
Other methods are offered through the identification of family or clan lineage and other cultural and traditional forms of certification.
Linkage to Bougainville to be an eligible voter can either be through birth, marriage, adoption as well as being 18 years old by the day of voting.
Any person fulfilling the criteria but hold a citizenship of another country would not be eligible to vote, as part of the electoral laws says the eligibility to vote in the referendum means the eligibility to vote in the National Election.
A once in a life time opportunity for the right to vote for Bougainville’s political status this day will determine the future of Bougainville and truly be a historic moment.
The referendum voting will be expected to begin in October the 12th.
By Terence Ziru