Sep 21, 2006

Bougainville: Resistance Fighters to Get Final Claim Settlement

The National Executive Council has approved the arrangements for final settlement of claims for outstanding allowances by members of the former Bougainville Resistance Forces.
The National Executive Council has approved the list of names and arrangements for final settlement of claims for outstanding allowances by members of the former Bougainville Resistance Forces (BRF).
Leaders of the former BRF had previously endorsed both the list and the arrangements.
The Government has allocated K10 million in final settlement of the claims.
At the request of their leaders, the 4,085 former BRF members whose names appear on the list will be paid equal amounts (K2,447.98 each) on an ex gratia basis.
Payment will be made by personal cheques, which will be drawn in Port Moresby and brought to Bougainville.
The Bougainville administration has agreed to assist with publicity, security, identification of rightful claimants, distribution of cheques in outlying areas, and other aspects of practical implementation.
Minister for Health and Bougainville Affairs and Minister assisting the Prime Minister on HIV/AIDS Sir Peter Barter had written to Autonomous Bougainville Government president Joseph Kabui to inform him of the NEC’s decision, and follow up on the Bougainville administration’s agreement to assist in implementation.
Sir Peter said: “The payment to former BRF members is, emphatically, one-off.”
He said with the agreement of former BRF leaders, it is intended as final settlement of all claims by former BRF members.
The leaders had said they will not support or encourage any future claims, Sir Peter said.
“They had agreed that former BRF members will each sign a deed of settlement once they are paid, making clear that they will not be making any future claims.
“Payment will be for assistance provided to the security forces during the Bougainville conflict.
“It does not set a precedent or open the way to acceptance of other claims by former BRF members or anyone else,” Sir Peter said.
The BRF will honour the commitment contained in the Bougainville Peace Agreement to disband and work through the lawful and democratically-elected Government and the unified administrative and support structures established under the laws implementing the agreement, he said.
Sir Peter said the NEC had accepted and authorised implementation of the arrangements for meeting outstanding claims previously agreed by former BRF leaders when they met with officials from defence, the Bougainville peace and restoration office and the Bougainville administration.
He said the issue had been resolved, and the outcome had been accepted by leaders on all sides, adding that funds are available.
“The administrative arrangements had been agreed upon.
“The outcome is not in doubt.”
The dates, places, and other details regarding the agreed payments to former BRF members will be announced as arrangements for implementation are finalised and put into effect, Sir Peter said.
“However, giving effect to the agreed arrangements for drawing and transporting the cheques, providing publicity and security and making the payments will, obviously, take time.
“The officials involved would need the understanding and co-operation of former BRF leaders and members as preparations are made and implementation is carried out,” Sir Peter said.