Voting in Honiara turned out well: Official

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VOTING for the Bougainville Referendum outside Bougainville went smoothly in Honiara, the official says.

“Hundred and fifty plus turned up for the first polling day in Honiara at the PNG High Commission in Solomon Islands yesterday.

“Unfortunately we had to turn away those people who didn’t register to vote,” the official said.

The officials said polling will resume today.

Polling in the Solomon Islands (Honiara and Gizo) and Australia (Cairns and Brisbane) started yesterday.

Meanwhile, President of the Bougainville and Solomon Association Mr Demas Parou describes yesterday as a historical day for the people of Bougainville.

“Today (yesterday) is very important day and historical day for the people of Bougainville for so many years.

“We have been looking forward for this day to cast our vote for independent.

“It was an emotional day for most Bougainvilleans living in Honiara, Gizo and Australia as they joined other Bougainvilleans across the country to casts their vote and we are all excited,” Parou said.

He said that most the people from Bougainville in Honiara usually carry the Bougainville flag around for the love of their island home and the people.

He said that those who turn up yesterday were very excited for casting their vote.

“We as Bougainvilleans, are so proud to put on the colourful and most treasured AROB flag and cast our vote in this historical Bougainville Referendum,” he said.

Similar sentiments were expressed by other members of the Bougainvilleans who said it was an emotional day for them.

“Our thought goes to those who sacrifice their life, people that brokered peace and those involved in restoring peace on Bougainville.

“Without them, we wouldn’t be able to participate in this unique voting process of referendum,” they said.

Mr Paro was excited to cast his vote as it was the only chance given to the Bougainvilleans to decide their future political status.

The vote will continue today at the PNG High Commission in Solomon Island and in Gizo.

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