18 Sep 2002

Autonomy government elections in Bougainville set for next year, but governor warns of peace process

5:36 pm on 18 September 2002

The governor of Papua New Guinea's Bougainville island is warning that the peace process could unravel because of the failure in addressing the island's collapsed infrastructure.

John Momis says Bougainville is plagued with bad roads, an oversized administration, law and order problems and deteriorating public services

Governor Momis says planning for the province's autonomous future will be pointless if the current infrastructure problems are not solved now.

"What I'm getting from the people is that there's too much emphasis on long term planning, negotiations, constitution making, but people say we are dying, we only have three doctors at the hospital, we don't have a surgeon, we don't have not the money to fix the roads. This all needs extra funds, and that seems not to be forthcoming."

Governor John Momis.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Bougainville People's Congress is optimistic that an election for an autonomous Bougainville government should be held in November next year.

Joseph Kabui says also that he was hopeful that a draft Bougainville constitution will be finalised and approved by the National government by the middle of next year.

Before any elections can be held, the United Nations has to approve the completion of the weapons disposal programme.