The National –Wednesday, January 5, 2011
By RIGGO NANGAN
CONCERNED mothers in Rabaul, East New Britain, have refuted claims by police that local women are boarding foreign vessels to socialise with the crews.
They said that the allegations by police in the media on Monday were broad and had tainted the image of local women.
Faith Kuri, a mother of five grown-up children and also a grandmother, spoke for the women from Rabaul yesterday.
She said if police knew of any immoral activities going on between the ships’ crew and local women, they should move in and make arrests.
Kuri was responding to a report in Monday’s The National where East New Britain provincial police commander Supt Sylvester Kalaut alleged that young local women would board these foreign vessels, have drinks with the men and engage in intimate activities.
Kuri, from Oro and a longtime resident at Newcamp in Rabaul, said the foreigners could be involved in other illegal activities but that was a matter for police to investigate.
She said many people like herself and her family were left homeless during the 1994 volcanic eruptions with little or no assistance from the concerned authorities and government.
“Because of the situation we are in, we do exchange food and other items like Digicel flex cards with the ships’ crew for fresh fish,” Kuri said.
She said they then sell the fish at the markets to earn a living.
“If the wharf security or Customs complain, then it would be okay because they look after the wharf 24 hours and seven days a week,” she said, adding that police only moved in during the festive period.
She said the barter trade between the foreigners and the local community had been going on for some time and no one had complained.
Kuri said any illegal activities must be dealt with by the authorities.
Police also attributed rising sex crimes and diseases to this activity.
They said drug smuggling and trafficking was rife among locals and crews of foreign vessels, many of whom had also been caught possessing overseas pornographic materials.