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Presidential Statement to the Bougainville Public Service



I acknowledge the presence of our Ministers, the Chief Secretary, Deputy Chief Secretaries, Heads of Departments, and representatives from our development partners, and more importantly, I acknowledge the presence of each member of the public service here today for the 2024 Bougainville Public Service Dedication Service Program.

Ladies and gentlemen, as Christians, we acknowledge that our existence is only by the grace of God. As Christians, we also recognize the importance of holistic human development that balances our personal and professional lives spiritually, physically, and mentally. As people of faith each year we dedicate our Public Service to our God so that we may receive his blessing as we serve our government and the people of Bougainville.

The Bougainville Public Service exists to carry out only one prerogative: to serve the people of Bougainville. To serve our people is a sacred duty that we as servants of the people swore an oath to uphold. Therefore, we are dutybound to ensure we provide efficient and effective service delivery that reaches the farthest corners of Bougainville. In every sector of the Autonomous Bougainville Government, we are called upon to empower our people by providing them with the necessary means to progress and develop. We must begin empowering our people through:

  • Economic empowerment by providing investment and business opportunities that will contribute to national growth. Harnessing our natural resources to develop major investments in the mining, agriculture, and manufacturing industries.
  • Education empowerment by providing a modern high standard of education at the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels that is compulsory and free for all our people.
  • Health empowerment by providing good quality health services that are affordable and accessible to our people.
  • Infrastructure development such as roads, schools, airports, and wharves with modernized towns and urban areas throughout Bougainville.
  • It is also vitally important, that we must empower our people to actively participate in the political and development process in Bougainville. Our people must be enabled to participate and take ownership of every development sector in Bougainville.

Real development is not only tangible, but it must also be as all-inclusive and far-reaching as possible.

The Autonomous Bougainville Government’s political leadership and the Bougainville Public Service coexist solely to carry out two fundamental objectives: to serve the people of Bougainville and prepare for independence. We are in a transitionary phase where we are laying down the foundations for nationhood for our people. We are doing this through our current service delivery mechanisms and the setup of a democratized legislative framework that will provide oversight of our government and administration.

As we work towards nationhood, we must have a strong government and public service. We can only achieve this if we adopt a strong corporate culture that has values that encourage moral and ethical standards. I make mention, particularly of the following values and principles:

  • Integrity is the cornerstone of any public service. It is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. As public servants, we must uphold the highest standards of integrity. We must be transparent in our actions, honest in our dealings, and steadfast in our commitment to doing what is right.
  • Accountability is another critical aspect. Each one of us is responsible for our actions and decisions. We must be willing to accept responsibility for our actions and be ready to face the consequences if we fail to meet the expectations set for us. Accountability ensures that we remain focused on our duties and deliver on our commitments.
  • Loyalty to our government and to the people we serve is paramount. We must always put the interests of the public first. Our loyalty should not be to individuals or personal interests but to the greater good. We must remember that we are here to serve the government and people of Bougainville, and that interest must always come first.
  • Lastly, patriotism. We must have unconditional love for Bougainville, our people, and our culture and it should be the driving force behind everything we do. Our actions should reflect our commitment to the betterment of Bougainville. We must take pride in our work and strive to make Bougainville a better place for all our citizens.

In 2020, I announced my Government’s Six Point Strategy as a guide in rebuilding a new society for Bougainville. They are: Political Control, Economic Growth and Control, Administrative Control, Mobilizing Private Sector and Civil Society, Long Term Vision and Planning, and lastly, International Relations.

Under the Strategy of Long-Term Vision and Planning, I am pleased that we have progressed well with the completion of our Bougainville Long-Term Vision 2052 and the Bougainville Integrated Strategic Development Plan for 2023 to 2027. The Long-Term Vision states that ‘By 2052, Bougainville will be a high income, educated, healthy and peaceful sovereign nation’.

For all of us here today, both political leaders and public servants, we now have to ask ourselves, what is my role in bringing Bougainville closer to this Vision? How can I contribute meaningfully to building a Bougainville that has a vibrant and thriving economy and a society where our people’s full potential is recognized and harnessed?

Our Long-Term Vision is the unique blueprint that will guid us all in establishing the foundations that are required of us to build the kind of society that we envisage. The values captured in the Bougainville Long-

Term Vision are essential to ensure that every citizen is provided with the opportunity to fulfill their potential.

Vision 2052 is cemented on Eight Key Pillars:

  1. Bougainville Ways
  2. Integral Human Development
  3. Leadership and Governance
  4. Peace, Justice, and Security
  5. Sustainable Economy and Private Sector
  6. Infrastructure Development
  7. International Relations
  8. Environment, Conservation and Climate Change

As President, I urge you all to begin this year with a clear understanding of Vision 2052 and these Eight Pillars. There must be clarity in how it is translated into the Bougainville Integrated Strategic Development Plan because it is our roadmap to secure Bougainville’s future.

We have seen growth in our economy, our infrastructure, and our progress towards political independence and sovereignty in the last four years. Though it is slow, it is still a testament to our resilience to progress despite insurmountable challenges we face in finance and governance.

This perseverance is the direct result of my government’s decision to rely solely on the Bougainville Public and our homegrown advisors and technocrats. I decided that it was time we take ownership of this process by having our own people, who understand our felt needs and aspirations map out and deliver tangible development through the established public service mechanisms. This is an achievement we have accomplished together.

Before I conclude, I want to say that when I first took office as President many skeptics doubted my ability to lead Bougainville. Some argued that my experiences as a revolutionary military commander and peace builder were not sufficient to meet the demands of the highest public office in Bougainville. Others said that I did not possess the charisma and tact of my predecessors nor their flare for political clout. That may be true to some extent however, I am not perturbed by these comments and criticisms.

My life’s single vocation has always been to serve Bougainville and to defend our people. In my role as the President of Bougainville, my devotion to serving Bougainville has not changed nor has it waned. I am still the very same man who was inspired by our political forefathers to bear arms and defend Bougainville against foreign oppressors and fight for our independence aspirations.

So I urge you, my fellow servants of the people of Bougainville, to be true Bougainville Patriots. Be, loyal to your government, be steadfast and resilient in the face of adversity and always have the best interest of our people in your heart and your mind.

In conclusion, instilling these values in the Bougainville Public Service is not just desirable, but essential. It is the foundation upon which we can build a robust, efficient, and effective public service that truly serves the people of Bougainville as we anticipate Independence.

God Bless You All and God Bless Bougainville.

H.E Ishmael Toroama, MHR 

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