The trip to the Tasman and Mortlock Atolls had been frustrated for weeks by bad weather and a lack of a suitably sized boat to safely make the rough crossing to the two remote communities.
Chief Referendum Officer Mauricio Claudio said he was delighted to have finally secured a private charter yacht, and that the weather had slightly improved.
“We now have a small window to quickly get to the Atolls where we estimate around 1,000 people may want to enrol to vote. Although the number of expected voters is small compared to the 202,000 enrolled already by the BRC, we are committed to sparing no effort to ensure that everyone entitled to vote in the Referendum is enrolled,” he stated.
“These are very isolated Bougainville communities, but our motto for the referendum from the very start has been to make the referendum as inclusive as humanly possible.”
The team of 12 includes 10 BRC enrolment and awareness officials and two Bougainville Police Service officers. One team will disembark on Mortlock whilst the second will continue on to enrol people on Tasman Atoll.
The team will enrol eligible voters and display the preliminary roll for non-resident Bougainvilleans.
“A large number of Atolls people now live elsewhere in PNG provinces, so we’ll use this trip to verify that all nonresident Bougainvilleans names are eligible voters,” Claudio said.
“This is not only the first time in Bougainville and national elections that persons have been offered the opportunity to check and challenge inclusion on a preliminary roll, but also the first time that enrolments outside of Bougainville have been verified within Bougainville. It shows our level of commitment to a quality Referendum Roll.”