by Bethanie Harriman – EMTV News, Lae
The production and sale of homebrew, or steam as it is commonly known, continues to be a major problem in Lae and surrounds.
Despite the social havoc that has occurred over the last 10 years, particularly amongst young men, an increasing number of women are being arrested for producing and selling the illegal alcohol.
Homebrew production has its peak periods; when there is a liquor ban, people produce, sell and drink.
When there is no ban, the production and consumption is concentrated amongst youths as young as 12-years-old.
On Friday, a mother of two was caught by Lae Police producing and selling steam at Kamkumung. She told Police she did it for money to for pay school fees and food as she and her husband don’t have jobs.
Deputy leader of the Opposition and Bulolo MP, Sam Basil, who also has similar problems in his district, says it’s a task that should be shared by national government bodies.
“[The] Narcotics Board is not performing its functions and one of its functions is to rehabilitate drunkards,” said Basil.
Yet homebrew is, unfortunately, a contributing factor to many rapes, murders and clashes fueled by the liquid.
Last week in Lae, a mother of four was raped and killed by men allegedly high on steam and marijuana.
“I cannot speak for other districts, but for my district, when there is a liquor ban the production and consumption of homebrew increases,” said Basil.
The problem brings into perspective unemployment and the desperation for an income to survive.
It also brings into account the dangers to the lives of those who live on the outskirts of Lae city, where production and consumption occurs so readily.