by Vanessa Knight – EM TV, Port Moresby
Concerns have escalated regarding the effectiveness of a liquor ban imposed in Manus Province in an attempt to curb law and order issues.
The ban, which was initially enforced following instructions from the Provincial Executive Council for a six month trial period last year, has now been extended for another six months into 2015.
However, despite the ban, the province has seen an increase in alcohol-related law and order problems.
This decision was made to decrease law and order problems in the province and encourage alcohol consumers to drink responsibly.
However, despite the ban, alcohol-related accidents are still claiming innocent lives, such as the recent death of a 50 year old mother, who succumbed to injuries she sustained when the vehicle she was traveling in overturned, under the control of a drunk driver.
Other high profile alcohol-related casualties include the controversial case of 21 year old Raymond Sipaun who died after allegedly being beaten by mobile squad officers in public view, for being drunk. Another case of 17 year old Kisawen Pokas, who was run over and killed by an allegedly drunk mobile squad officer while walking home from school.
Lorengau Provincial Police Commander, Alex Ndrasal, says this is because youths are still sourcing illegal homebrew and liquor from three PEC-authorized outlets in the province.
He says however police have now been tasked by the PEC to take a more stringent approach in monitoring and addressing the issue.
Lorengau Harborside Hotel and Seaddler Bay Hotel, in Lorengau, and the Officer’s Mess at Lombrum Naval Base, are the only three outlets authorised to sell liquor. Authorities have now cautioned these outlets to prohibit alcohol from being taken out of the authorised venues.
PPC Ndrasal added that Manus Governor, Charlie Benjamin, supports the ban and has pledged a hire vehicle to help police with logistics to enforce the ban.
The PPC added that outlets not adhering to directions may lose their trading license, while homebrew manufacturers and consumers could face up to 24 months in prison as per the maximum sentence, if found guilty.