The National – Friday, December 10, 2010
By YVONNE HAIP
ALCOHOL is still flowing freely in Southern Highlands (SHP) despite the liquor ban which has been in place for the better part of the year.
The smuggled liquor – both beer and spirit – was now being sold at village trade stores and smaller liquor outlets where they were easily accessed by the public.
This was the concern raised by individuals who had recently travelled into the province as well as ressidents of Mendi town.
They said alcohol related problems had gone down since the liquor ban, but smuggling acts could rekindle such problems.
A total liquor ban for an indefinite period had been imposed by the SHP government and police in May and a check-point had been set up at the Kaugel River near the Western Highlands and SHP border.
This was purposely to make the province conducive for investors due to the developments taking place there, as well as early works for the rich LNG project that are underway.
An observer from Kaupena, James Temane, who is a former Correctional Services officer, said alcohol and drugs were still illegally being brought into the province.
He claimed a bottle of SP was sold for K10 at trade stores and by street vendors, while marijuana was still accessible, and those in authority were not doing anything about it.
He suggested that tougher security measures needed to be taken at the check point and other possible routes where the drugs and alcohol could be smuggled through.
He said during the festive season, more alcohol and drug related violence was likely to occur and police had to monitor the situation to prevent problems.
Attempts to get comments from police in the province were unsuccessful, however it is understood that police have cracked down on lawlessness and the province is now ‘quiet’.