THE Bougainvilleans in Honiara have finally had their opportunity to cast their votes as part of the Bougainville Referendum.
The two-day voting started on Thursday at the Papua New Guinea (PNGs) High Commission head office in Honiara with only two options, whether to vote for independence or for autonomy.
A lot of Bougainvilleans made their way to the voting booths with different opinions which regards to whether they vote in support of the referendum or not.
Leona Kilo, the first woman who casts her vote yesterday told the paper she understand the referendum is very important and that is why she made her way very early to cast her vote.
Mrs Kilo said all she wants from her fellow Bougainvilleans both in Honiara and back home is to support the referendum.
She said it’s a privilege especially for them who reside in Honiara to have the opportunity to be part of the voting.
“The most important part of it is, we all want to be counted in this referendum because we know anything happens later will be a result of this count,” she said.
She added, the decision for Bougainville to become an independent nation should also be decided by the PNG government and so they can only wait and see what is going to happen next.
Meanwhile, the second woman who casts her vote, Lynette Kidoe said she was very excited as she has already been waiting for that day.
“Our votes represent the 20,000 people who lost their lives during the crises. Their blood didn’t waste for nothing, and we are here to fulfill their wishes,” she said.
Mrs Kidoe said it is her hope that the results would come the way the Bougainvilleans wanted and have always stood by.
President of Buka Association, TamunaraParou said it is a great feeling that they are able to cast their votes starting yesterday.
“This is the day that we have been waiting for the past 20-30 years and now we are so excited to cast our votes,” he said.
Mr Parou said for the Buka community here in Honiara, it is their hope that Bougainville will no longer become autonomy but a free and independent nation after the voting completes.
“With autonomy, we have suffered so much and it’s time that Bougainvilleansvote for independence as it is our only destiny to our freedom,” he said.
He said autonomy should not be the best choice today and that message should be well understood by all Bougainvilleans who are to cast their votes.
By IAN M.KAUKUI