LAE water police dumped 70 bags of betel nuts worth about K17,000 into the sea after seizing a dinghy at Lasanga Islet in the Morobe-Salamaua border, Huon Gulf, on Tuesday night.
The water police and Morobe small craft traffic unit said the dinghy was unregistered and the skipper didn’t have a permit.
Lae central police commander Chief Sgt James Luan said water police was assigned to monitor the coastline entry points from Northern, Morobe, Salamaua, Bukawa, Finschhafen and Tewae-Siassi during the state of emergency (SOE).
Another dinghy with 16 bags of betel nuts was seized on Monday.
Voco Point dog unit commander Chief Sgt Brian Panda, Sgt Luan, water police and small craft officers got rid of the contents in the presence of owner Peter Bagiro, 30, from Amua village, Morobe.
Bagiro said he spent K9,000 for the 70 bags that would have fetched him K17,000.
“Any dinghy transporting buai will be impounded, buai bags disposed of and owners charged under the SOE,” Sgt Luan said.
He ignored Bagiro’s plea and directed him to assistant SOE controller Northern End Peter Guinness’ office.
Psychologist raises concern over mental health impact on poor families
CONCERNS have been raised over the mental health impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on poor families by a private counselling service provider.
Australian psychologist Aaron Hayes who operates PNG Counselling and Care said yesterday that the lockdown was bringing struggling low income families to their knees.
“Our local counsellors are getting a big increase in reports of domestic violence,” he said.
“Low income families in particular are stressed out by going without money and food during the lockdown and couples are fighting.”
Hayes said low income breadwinners who rely on marketing and street sales were the hardest hit.
“These people live hand to mouth at the best of times and do not have savings or food reserves to last even one day without an income,” he said.
“Now mothers are borrowing from loan sharks to feed their children and their husbands are furious because the lenders are already demanding repayment”.
Hayes compared the lockdown to a volcano ready to erupt.
“People are stressed out by the confinement without income and they are ready to explode,” he said.
“On top of this, desperate people are stealing from their relatives and neighbours to buy food.”
Hayes said wealthy countries like Australia could cope better with lockdowns because many people had some savings for stocking up on food and the government was able to make emergency welfare payments to the population.
“In Papua New Guinea, however, the closure of businesses, markets and street sales has had a devastating impact on poor families and I hope that the lockdown can be lifted at the end of 14 days if there are no confirmed cases of Covid-19,” he said.
Hayes expressed concern that more people could die from lack of access to food and normal medical services during the lockdown than from contracting the virus.