BRC requests to defer referendum

According to media reports, the Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) has formally requested to defer the referendum until a later unspecified date.

The BRC have largely remained silent on the matter and mystery surrounds the reason for the deferment.

It is known that Bertie Ahern, Chair of the BRC and former Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland has been planning for some weeks to request a delay.

Bougainville Times has contacted the BRC for comment repeatedly over the past two weeks and the Commission has refused to comment or provide clarification on the reasons for deferring the referendum.

It is not known if the decision was taken by Mr Ahern unilaterally or whether it was voted on formally by all seven Commissioners. Bougainville Times has requested meeting minutes to confirm, but these have not been provided by the BRC.

The BRC has been conducting a roadshow throughout Bougainville and it was reported that enrolments and preparations were going very well. There have also been enrolment days in Papua New Guinea and overseas in Australia and Solomon Islands.

A possible deferment in the referendum has come as a surprise for many Bougainvillians who are nervous that the referendum may never happen.