OVER the weekend a certain very alarmed international visitor alerted a Port Moresby Hotel front desk that a woman in the next room was being beaten near to death and would the hotel please intervene.
If she had been alarmed, she was quite distressed by the hotel’s response.
The hotel reception basically told her that what happened in the rooms was of little concern to the hotel and said that it was a domestic affair in any case.
Quite at a loss by the hotel’s response to an apparent criminal act on its premises, the visitor called a friend outside to try to raise the police but when the friend tried the police emergency triple 0 number rang out after several attempts.
The Papua New Guinean friend also called the hotel and was told the same message that had been given to the visitor. Eventually, reluctantly and mostly because of the repeated calls to the reception, the hotel managed to extract the feuding couple from the room and disregarding the repeated pleas of the woman that she did not want to go in the same taxi on account of what might happen to her, were bundled off in the one taxi regardless.
Whatever happens next is none of the hotel’s business, or so the attitude of this particular Port Moresby hotel seems to be.
The international visitor was shocked at the reaction of this hotel. She was even further distressed when the hotel apologised to her for the fight which might have disturbed her peace of mind.
Her peace of mind was most definitely disturbed but not so much by the noise and her own discomfort as by the fact that a woman was beaten near to death next door in an established and supposedly reputable hotel in the capital and nobody, least of all the hotel itself, seemed to care.
We can appreciate the attitude of the hotel. It is, after all, a business, not a counselling agency nor an arm of the Royal PNG Constabulary.
Still, where lives are at stake we would expect more than the lethargic approach shown by this particular management over the weekend.
Hotels deal with people. They must ensure that guests within its premises are safe, secure and comfortable.
If there is any violence or disturbance of the peace – even if it is among family members – the hotel reserves the right to intervene, including in the rooms. Conditions of occupancy do not include the right to do as you please including commission of crimes.
The hotel management’s attitude is completely wrong.
They seem to enforce their dress code far more stringently than the check violence within their premises. Often you will be refused entry by the hotel security for a round neck T-shirt or steel-capped boots but when the hotel gets told that a woman is being beaten up in the next room, it reckons that is none of the hotel’s business. This is nonsense and it is hoped this is not standard policy by the group because this particular hotel is part of a chain of hotels in the country.
But the entire attitude, from the lack of concern to the final apology to the expatriate visitor, smacks of something else also: discrimination.
We would venture that if the situation were reversed, that if the alarm had been raised that an expatriate man or woman was being beaten up somewhere in the hotel there would be a platoon of security guards literally crashing the door to get into the room, never mind the damage to hotel property.
From the dress code check at the front entrance to the front desk service or the standard of service in the cafeteria or room service, the hotels in this country seem loathe to serve the citizens of the country they operate in.
Whether it is company policy or mere lack of professionalism by staff, this is an attitude that seems generally to permeate all service industries in PNG from shops to hotels, restaurants and banks.
In the defence of the service industries, some of their attitude has developed that way because of experience. Many citizens are uncouth, dirty of mouth, behaviour and dress but there is a class of well-travelled and well-educated Papua New Guineans who find the practices of these service industries to be backward, colonial and not customer friendly.