Ingredients for a great Bougainville

THE respected chairman of Bougainville Copper, Sir Mel Togolo, has shared some of his thoughts on the importance of the referendum currently taking place. This is an edited version of what he said.
Ingredients for a great Bougainville Ingredients for a great Bougainville Ingredients for a great Bougainville Ingredients for a great Bougainville Ingredients for a great Bougainville

Mel Togolo

Staff Reporter

The beginning of the referendum on Bougainville's political future marks both a historic and proud moment for all of us who identify as Bougainvillean or have links through marriage and other customary arrangements.
 
It has been a long road and everybody who has been involved in ensuring Bougainville is well prepared should be happy with the outcome of their efforts.
 
The impressive levels of public unity and the mutual respect that have been displayed throughout Bougainville in the lead up to the referendum is something we should all be proud of.
 
It has helped instil confidence that all is set for a truly peaceful process where everyone is encouraged to exercise their democratic right freely, according to his or her own wishes.
 
As one of the 206,731 registered voters, I consider this a unique privilege and along with other fundamental human rights, the right to cast our vote in this referendum is God-given.
 
It is however important that we think carefully about what we are voting for and I am sure everyone has.
 
There is naturally plenty of emotion around the referendum and voting is probably the easiest part.
 
The biggest challenges for us still lie ahead in terms of providing the infrastructure we need, the schools, hospitals, roads and all those other things that will help make the island prosperous.
 
This will only be realised from a strong base of peace, security and good governance.
 
Togolo is from Rorovana  in central Bougainville and held several senior positions with Bougainville's former North Solomons Provincial Government between 1977 and 1990. He was appointed executive chairman of Bougainville Copper in February 2018.
 
A prominent Bougainvillean, he has enjoyed a successful career in the resources industry in PNG and abroad, particularly in the minerals sector for almost 25 years.
 
He has served as PNG country manager with Nautilus Minerals and previously served on the BCL board as an alternate member (1977-1980) and full board member (1990 to 1993).
 
He previously held several senior positions with Bougainville's former North Solomons Provincial Government between 1978 and 1990 and continues to serve on the boards of several private companies. He was a founding member of the Business Council of Papua New Guinea and president for six years.
 
In June 2018, Togolo received a knighthood from the Queen (Knight Bachelor) for his service to economic development, particularly in the mining and petroleum sectors, and the community. In 2004, he was awarded Commander of the British Empire for services to industry and commerce in PNG. Togolo holds masters' degrees in economics and geography.

 

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