PNG’s Minister of Bougainville Affairs worked as a priest for 28 years

Dumarinu Bougainville

A man who worked as a Catholic for priest for 28 years is the new Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Bougainville Affairs.

Simon Dumarinu is a first time member of parliament. He narrowly defeated former Mining Minister Sam Akoitai in the Central Bougainville Open seat in the recent Papua New Guinea general election.

A  Barapang clansman (Eagle clan) from Orami Village, Ioro, Panguna District, Dumarinu is a member of the Social Democratic Party.

As a member of the Society of Mary, he served as a priest for 28 years and as a religious worker for 34 years.

Fr Ben McKenna, Marist provincial of Oceania confirmed Dumarinu is now suspended from priestly ministry and in the process of being dismissed.

This is not the first time Dumarinu has stood for public office.

In 2015 he took part in the Autonomous Bougainville election for the presidency but lost to former Catholic priest John Momis.

While a deacon and after priestly ordination, Dumarinu worked in Bougainville from 1989 to 1997 at the height of the Bougainville conflict.

A peace agreement to settle the conflict was signed in 2001.

Dumarinu worked for six years in the Solomon Islands before returning to parish work in Bougainville.

In 2010 he joined the Bougainville Peace Building Programme.

He says his focus as Minister of Bougainville Affairs is to ensure the Peace Agreement is properly implemented.

The Bougainville Peace Agreement, which was signed in 2001, is due to reach its conclusion with a referendum on possible independence from Papua New Guinea in June of 2019.

Please Note: This post has been amended.


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