Liquor still pouring into SHP despite six-month ban

National, Normal


THE Southern Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Industry is calling on the police, provincial liquor licensing commission and provincial executive council to set check points on other roads coming into the province.
President Berry Mini said from Mendi on Wednesday that despite the liquor ban imposed in the province six months ago, people were still smuggling alcohol using three other roads.
He said the ban was putting legitimate alcohol distributors, tavern and club owners out of business and creating a thriving alcohol black market.
Mini said if the provincial executive council was serious about the success of ban, then, they should give more money to the police to set up new check points on the three roads coming into Mendi from Tambul in Western Highlands and Kandep in Enga.
At present, the only check was on the Highlands Highway, at Kagul River bridge bordering the Western Highlands and Southern Highlands.
He said the people were smart, using big four-wheel drive vehicles to transport beer into the province through the access roads.
A bottle of brown SP is selling for K8 and the white can K10.
“Black markets are booming and people are getting drunk every day as if there is no liquor ban at all,” Mini said.
“The ban opens the gate for illegal activities to take place while the licenced liquor dealers are bowing out of business.”
He said the ban had not been properly implemented because police were not arresting illegal vendors and drunks who were becoming public nuisance.
Provincial police commander Supt Teddy Tei said last week that police needed more money to set up the extra checkpoints on the access roads.
He admitted that people were smuggling liquor through the access roads and also across Kagul River.