Lae police support call to shut liquor outlets

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By JIMMY KALEBE and PISAI GUMAR
LAE police are supporting a call from Ahi villagers around the city to shut down all liquor outlets in the city.
MP John Rosso, pictured, wants closure of all liquor outlets in the Top Town area and a total ban on street vending while enforcing the Vagrancy Act. He wants police to increase foot patrols for public visibility and called for the enforcement of the Vagrancy Act.
He said that would minimise the growth of unnecessary settlements in city suburbs.
“People who come to live in Lae should respect the local landowners and follow the rule of law in our city,” Rosso said after the death of young Moses Peter Walo from Butibam village on Saturday.
The locals retaliated on Sunday and burnt down several houses.
Walo was allegedly stoned to death after a street fight. It was alleged by police that drunkards coming out from liquor outlets caused nuisance at the main bus stop and women, children and others were harassed.
Acting Lae Metropolitan Superintendent and Superintendent Operations Fred Kaiwa, in an interview yesterday at Butibam village, said they had instructed their men to stop all street vendors around the Top Town bus stop area and other public places in the city.
“All liquor shops next to the bus stop area need to be closed immediately and I will talk with the liquor licensing people to stop their licences,” Kaiwa said.
“These are the target areas that drunkards, after having their beer, come out and harass the public.”
He said there was a need to evict all settlements in the vicinity of the city as these were the places that play a major part in the increase of law and order issues.
He said once those people were evicted, the city would have peace and harmony and people could move around freely.
Attempts to obtain comment from the provincial liquor licensing office were unsuccessful while the Lae Chamber of Commerce is yet to respond too.
Meanwhile, Banana Block committee member Moses Umba said his people were innocent.
“We were blamed for nothing. It was people residing in other areas that did that. Everyone knows this but we were their targets of eviction,” he said regarding the killing.
“This situation should not be used as a stepping stone for them to come and evict us. This is not the right time.
“They can use some other time to come and negotiate with us before evicting us.”
Umba said they had worked closely with police and assisted them to arrest suspects.
“We also collected money from families here and want to present it to the relatives of the person killed but we cannot as they retaliated against us. All we want is a peaceful resolution to this matter,” he said.

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