Madang short of police manpower

Momase, Normal

The National – Thursday, December 23, 2010

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LAW enforcing agencies in Madang tasked to enforce the liquor ban is grossly understaffed giving rise to rampant beer smuggling into the province.
President of Chamber and Commerce Industry and chairman of law and order, Stotick Kamya, made these remarks yesterday when asked why business houses, mainly Asian shops were still trading liquor even to police.
The liquor licensing office has only one man running the show and has his hands tied.
He cannot perform his job effectively without the assistance of police personnel under liquor laws as stipulated.
Kamya said that Madang police were short of manpower and in need of extra police
since the beginning of the year.
“We cannot expect 100% policing if law enforcing agencies are under staffed to monitor and make arrests,” he said.
“The five-man team at the traffic office cannot do much as they are understaffed despite being assisted occasionally by task force, dog unit and reserve.”
A source at the traffic office, who did not want to be named, confirmed yesterday that they were not conducting road blocks and checks.
“We cannot conduct a road block for longer periods due to the fact that we have no spot lights, blue rotating police lights, tents and other logistic needed for a major roadblock.
“We are aware of the smuggling of alcohol into the province but cannot do much except where cases are reported.
“At the moment, we are only nabbing motorists with traffic infringements,” he said.
Ramu police station commander Insp Dominic Livar confirmed that since last year, a  total of 2,000 cartons of beer had been confiscated at major road blocks between Walium and Madang town.
Provincial police commander, Supt Anthony Wagambie Jnr, who is fully aware of the situation, confirmed that Christmas operation orders would be issued before Friday but did not give specific details.
Meanwhile, Asian shop owners and other black markets continue to capitalise on the shortfalls and are selling beer with the knowledge of the liquor licensing inspector and the policemen.