The National, Friday 25th November 2011
By SAMUEL RAITANO
PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill is expected to attend the joint supervisory body (JSB) meeting in Buka next month. The Autonomous Bougainville Government expects to sign a memorandum of understanding with the national government to transfer the powers of the police, works and National Fishery Authority.
It is expected that the supervisory body will endorse an over-arching policy framework within which the transfer process will be implemented. A joint technical team comprising officials from the national government and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville met on Wednesday and yesterday to finalise documentation and endorse agenda items for the meeting.
The National Coordination office of Bougainville Affairs (NCOBA) said the meeting was set for Dec 5. The joint technical meetings will be conducted by the NCOBA director and chief administrator, while the JSB will be co-chaired by the deputy Prime Minister and the ABG President. In the transfer of powers and functions, the Bougainville Peace Agreement had stipulated that Bougainville must have financial and human resources in order to undertake the task of implementing the transferred functions under the autonomous arrangements.
However, NCOBA director Ellison ToWalom said with the rate of progress, the achievement could not be realised as yet given that the referendum was to be legally held between 2015 and 2020. “It is with this challenge that the national government must transfer public service powers and the functions with the responsibility of funding and manpower support to the ABG while it (ABG) will provide the policy and legal direction under the proposed arrangement.”