by Jack Lapauve Jr – EM TV, Port Moresby
There will be ‘total liquor ban’ in Western Highlands and Jiwaka provinces starting 19 January 2015, due to escalating social disorder.
This means that all liquor outlets, distributors, pubs, motels and major hotels operating in Mt Hagen, Papua New Guinea’s third largest city, and other centres of the two provinces will not sell any form of alcohol.
The decision was unanimously reached in an urgent meeting held by the Western Highlands provincial liquor licensing board last Friday, 19 December. Western Highlands Provincial Administrator Joseph Neng announced that the ban was aimed at curbing serious law and order problems associated with liquor.
The two provinces will follow Enga, Southern Highlands and Hela which also have indefinite liquor bans.
Mr Neng said the provincial government was pressured by the community to ban liquor after a string of killings, rape, tribal fights, car accidents and other social problems.
Mr Neng said the decision may affect some businesses but asked for cooperation from all stakeholders. He said Jiwaka was included because it does not have a provincial liquor licensing board yet.
He however said the ban will be reviewed every three months depending on the situation. A checkpoint will be established at the border of Jiwaka and Chimbu by Jiwaka police to defuse alcohol smuggling.