Brothers by other mothers?
The now departed Minister for Territories, Charles Barnes, had a tad paler complexion, and hailed from rural Australia – but he certainly thought so much like the ABG’s current President, John Momis, you cant tell them apart.
Here is what Charles Barnes said about mining on Bougainville in 1969, immediately after he had sent in the riot squads to beat up Bougainville’s protesting mothers:
“The attitude of a handful of people [women landowners] may attract our sympathy, and we may go to considerable lengths to resolve their problems. But in the last resort, we cannot allow them to block this great prospect [Rio Tinto mine] and thus throw into doubt the policies on which the futures of more than two million people depend”
“Mr Barnes said the people of the Territory had a choice of whether to drift in a primitive and backward situation depending on the generosity of the Australian taxpayer, or to advance as a modern State financed by its own sources”.
And what does his long lost brother, Honest John Momis say now he is facing a revolt among the landowners of Panguna, who wont go along with his hand-picked ‘chiefs’ … well:
“This minority of leaders risk destroying the positive partnership that landowners and the ABG have worked so hard to create and undermine preparations for negotiations with Bougainville Copper Limited and the National Government”.
“The ABG supports re-opening Panguna, we see that as the most realistic way of contributing to broad-based economic growth, and generating the ABG revenues required to meet the needs of our people”.
The colonial playbook is alive and well – tell the ‘natives’ the project is all about them, for their benefit, and only extreme and primitive outsiders would dare oppose ‘development’. Then take the ore, make the cash, and leave behind a smouldering wreck.
Honest John and Barnes the Impaler you two are a match made in heaven.