Come up with alternatives to betel nuts ban

Letters, Normal

The National, Friday October 11th, 2013

 I MAINTAIN my views in relation to my last letter (Sept 17) and the governor’s response (Sept 24). 

It is not my intention to use the media to oppose or attack the governor and his policies. But as an ordinary citizen, I feel obliged to provide alternatives to policies affecting the lives of common citizens. 

Betel nuts waste and spittle certainly constitute big problems for the NCDC waste management unit, but it should put in place a prudent management control mechanism. 

If they cannot manage it, something is wrong with the division, so the authorities should deal with them accordingly. 

One of the points I raised previously was to introduce a regulatory body to regulate the industry. 

Imposing a total ban is an extreme measure and will not be a deterrent either. 

It will only encourage illegal trade, which will be far worse than it is now. 

The good governor needs to instruct his officers to work on instruments to regulate the industry so that traders as well as vendors trade safely within secure boundaries. 

The control itself will play a beneficial role in managing the waste and grime as vendors and chewers will inevitably know that the industry is regulated, and so they will be responsible. 

My second point is that every opposing policy against a life-supporting business activity must have an alternative. 

So, governor, what is yours? 

The repercussions and ripple effects of the ban would be far more perplexing than anticipated. 

Vendors make a living through the sale of betel nuts and will be inexorably forced to commit unlawful acts to sustain their lives. 

The microfinance scheme Powes Parkop boasts of will have no impact on sellers as they will be turned away by his stringent guidelines. 

On the formal business front, the betel nuts trade enhances the buying powers of the people to purchase goods and services. 

The ban is going to directly impact on their buying power. Consequently, business in the formal sector will decline considerably as the informal sector is the bedrock of the formal sector. 

As  governor, Parkop has a moral duty to protect the interests and survival of the small, grossly-marginalised people. 

His response falls short and I would still expect him to justify his K9 million annual contract to PNG Gardener and its significance on the city’s beautification programme as well as the underlying benefits derived from it.