The National, Friday 24th August 2012
By DAVID WAPAR
THE liquor ban in Southern Highlands will not be lifted by Governor William Powi’s administration, a member of the provincial executive council (PEC) says.
Southern Highlands chamber of commerce and industry representative Berry Mini has claimed that the ban imposed in 2009 was not working.
But Upper Mendi local level government president Willie Kera, who is also the newly-appointed chairman for the justice sector and law and order committee, said although there was a loss of revenue, the consequences of alcohol consumption was much higher.
“The classic example is tribal fighting in the province which has cost lives, displacement of people and millions of kina as a result of beer consumption,” he said.
Kera said another issue Mini failed to realise is how lifting the ban will affect the multi-billion kina LNG project in the province as numerous disturbances and delays to the early stages of the project were alcohol-related.
He said the new government will come up with a workable policy to curb illegal alcohol smuggling in the province.
“I appeal to those traders to refrain from doing this illegal activity now because the law will catch up with them and come down hard on them,” he said.
He said the issue will be discussed at the first PEC meeting to ensure the liquor ban is not lifted but extended.
Kera said he will ask the PEC for adequate funding so that all roads used for the illegal alcohol trade will be properly monitored.