Bougainville calling!

Here below is a little bit of madness from our friends in Bourgainville – or rather from the people at the National Business Review, so of course its mad, even if it turns out to be true. Call me.

[I am adding this pic I ripped out of a newspaper in Germany in 1997 because I just love the caption, which is wrongheaded in so many ways – but also references catapults, which I agree is a stone age way of thinking for a telecommunications company – sheesh – was this designed just to rile us up with its cod primitivism?]

And the article has a nice twist at the end on tourism, which I think will be my way in to writing about the islands once again (for the Canadian CASCA conference in May perhaps):

Pacific Periscope:

By Dev Nadkarni

Phones worth their weight in gold

The autonomous Bougainville government is close to striking a deal with a Korean company that will bring a reliable telephone network to this remote island territory off the coast of Papua New Guinea.

Years of strife and violence in its bid to break away from PNG have left the territory without much of a cash economy. Bougainville, though, is rich in minerals and the government has decided to leverage that natural wealth to pay for the new telephone system: It is proposing to give the Korean-owned Airlink rights to mine gold in exchange for phones.

Airlink and the Bougainville Executive Council have been negotiating extensively and a deal will likely be signed in the next few weeks – though details on the extent of the network and the mining licences to compensate for it are sketchy at this stage.

The autonomous government believes the new telecommunication system will help Bougainville exploit its huge tourism potential – particularly in the WW-II nostalgia sector – in the years to come”