As Bougainville is gearing up for Referendum in 2019 and as time passes as time is the biggest healer , I reflect on the journey we look as a national with very important lessons to learn.
Firstly we should never have had a crisis.The government had not negotiating powers against a multi million corporate giant like Rio Tinto. Collectively we have destroyed a Province, a community and displaced and disintegrated thousands of families.
Many mother’s are now widowed and raising children without fathers. Communities are split and deep emotions run through minds of people affected directly or indirectly.
I was a seasoned soldier with a future in front of me, but I was a soft target for the government to bring more misery to an already broken community.
I was wounded badly at Panguna mine in 1994 . I rescued women and children with troops under my command. My troops were just as human , vulnerable but had a duty and under the circumstances did what they were supposed to do.
I revolted against a government who did not put people’s welfare first. The government was too swift to end my career in 2000. But I made my mark as Commander PNGDF.
State versus Jerry Singirok was one of the longest court case against a Departmental Head.
I was aquitted in 2004 on charge of Sedition and today I humbly reminisce the boldness that we took as an important state institution to stop potentially massacres of incredible chaos and destruction.
The point is that when our political masters do not take heed of the plight of it people, there are serious consequences.
I paid a personal price. But as a Christian serving my Lord, Jesus paid a higher price for our redemption. So from time to time I share my post in a hope that those affected in the Bougainville crisis will find the healing, peace and move on in their lives.
Wounded soldiers like myself we carry both physical scares and deep emotional and psychological wounds. Those children without parents and wives without their loved ones also continue to feel a deep sense if loss and pain.
A true reconciliation by soldiers Police PNGDF the government of PNG and combatants BRAs and Resistance Force is very important. We all need to be healed.
The lesson for future goverment is to take the plight and welfare of the people first before all other considerations. Let us not repeat the same mistakes on Bougainville. We must stand united for our next generation.
Long live Bougainville