by Scott Waide – EM TV News, Lae
Morobe Governor, Kelly Naru, has given assurances that the ban on street vendors will remain and that Asian owned shops have been issued warnings not to supply the vendors.
Naru was speaking at a gathering of more than a thousand people at Tensiti in Lae this morning who came to receive a response to a petition presented to the Morobe provincial government last week.
There was heavy police presence on the roads this morning in Lae as people prepared to hear the response from the provincial government.
Seven days ago, more than 3000 people gathered at the Sir Ignatius Kilage stadium to present a list of demands to the provincial government.
This morning, there was a more orderly crowd. The Morobe Governor went through the list of demands spending time to address each one.
“We have allocated two million kina for the short term measures which include the policing of strategic locations, ” said Naru.
Of prime concern for Lae City are street vendors who get their supplies from Asian owned shops. The vendors congregate in public spaces like Eriku and, in many reported cases, have been responsible for harassment and petty crimes.
Last week, the provincial government announced a ban of street vendors. Today the government said there will be an additional 40 people placed in key locations to assist in providing security.
Street vendors may have been the issue that came out in front but the land shortage and limited economic opportunities remain the underlying causes to the tensions.
Morobeans feel marginalised and that developments are being driven by the National government and that the locals are being left to pick up the crumbs of economic growth.