PNG union leader pleas with Bougainville to stay

1:06 pm on 18 March 2019

The general secretary of the Papua New Guinea Trades Union Congress, John Paska, hopes Bougainville chooses to stay part of PNG.

A tentative date of June 15th 2019 has been set for a referendum on possible independence in the Autonomous Papua New Guinea region of Bougainville.

Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

The autonomous region is to hold a vote on independence in October this year and Mr Paska says it's everyone's desire that Bougainville remain an integral part of PNG.

He said the cultural links were strong, stretching back thousands of years and far outweigh any differences that might have developed.

"There's been a lot of talk and I have got a lot of friends on Bougainville also and I put to them regularly that some of the issues that they raise that differentiate themselves, supposedly differentiate themselves from the rest of Papua New Guinea are based on superficial arguments.

"But when you drum up the same message every now and then people begin to believe because it's not opposed and no differing views are offered."

John Paska said he respected the right of Bougainvilleans to make whatever decision they do make, but he hoped there were healthy discussions about all aspects of the issue.

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