The National, Thursday October 24th, 2013
By PETER ESOP WARI
THE alcohol ban in the Southern Highlands should be lifted as it has caused much destruction in the province, a community leader says.
Charles Ipa, from Kagua in the Kagua-Erave district, said the recent clash between police and soldiers in Hela was alcohol-related.
“What’s the use of the alcohol ban in Southern Highlands and Hela when liquor is publicly sold and consumed,” he asked.
“Liquor is sold and consumed at the Mendi Market and other places, like betel nuts and cigarettes are sold on the streets. The police are involved in consuming or selling it when they’re supposed to be controlling the alcohol.”
Ipa said Southern Highlands Governor William Powi did the right thing by imposing the alcohol ban in the province but the execution of Powi’s policy is a problem.
He said security officers manning gates at checkpoints were involved in helping smuggle alcohol and when police were involved, then who else could implement the policy.
The province has become a gold mine for a few privileged people in the police and those security guards at the gate, Ipa said.
“Yet Powi’s administration is continuing to pay huge sums of money to the security company that is not even doing its job.”
Ipa said locals would like to know what happened to the alcohol that has been confiscated at the gates since the ban was enforced and what method was used for its disposal.
“Was there any report made to the Southern Highlands provincial government on the success or failures of the liquor ban policy?”
Moses Wanpis, a primary school teacher from Tepe village in Imbonggu district, called on the Southern Highlands government to review the alcohol laws or uplift the ban.
“The province has gone from bad to worse since the alcohol ban was implemented and production of homebrew and marijuana has increased at an alarming rate,” he said.