14 Apr 2010

Bougainville Presidency candidate wants to prioritise education

8:34 pm on 14 April 2010

A Bougainville businessman who has entered the race for the presidency of the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville says education is the first priority in the province's development.

Economist Robert Atsir, who had worked closely with the first president, the late Joseph Kabui, is one of seven candidates for the position in next month's elections.

Bougainville is a resource rich province with opportunities in agriculture, fishing, tourism as well as mining, but Mr Atsir says the first thing that needs to be addressed is the mindset of the people and education is the key to this.

"We need to be able to educate our people to understand that without being hardworking, without being resilient and [without] resourcefulness we cannot truly achieve a lot of the visions and aspirations that we have made an effort to achieve autonomy as well as make decisions whether we should become an independent nation in the Pacific or not."