Haiveta calls for ban on betel nut trade


Gulf Governor Chris Haiveta yesterday called for all betel nut trade to be banned immediately in Gulf and for all outside PMVs and vehicles involved in its trade to stop for a month.
This follows compensation demands by relatives of a Western Highlands betel nut buyer after he was allegedly killed by a Gulf man.
This incident happened at Mupa Settlement, a popular betel nut trading post, along the Malalaua-Kerema section of the Hiritano Highway.
Haiveta said his people had been harassed and intimidated by outside betel nut buyers over the years.
“This has resulted in fatalities and other injuries perpetrated by outsiders frequenting Gulf for betel nut,” he said.
“This was something for which Gulf people never demanded compensation of any sort.”
The Gulf executive council received two petitions yesterday from the relatives of the dead man and the Gulf PMV Association.
Haiveta said the death was now a police matter.
Police security supervisor Fred Lelesi said the situation remained tense along the highway yesterday.
He said Western Highlanders were terrorising villagers along the highway.
“These actions are illegal and police will deal with the situation,” Lelesi said.
Provincial administrator Marc Avai said they would hold meetings with their Central counterparts to ensure safety of people using the highway.

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