9 Jul 2020

Bougainville booze ban brings bigger bother - Hakena

3:57 pm on 9 July 2020

The regionwide liquor ban in Bougainville is making law and order problems worse, an election candidate says.

Helen Hakena.

Helen Hakena. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The ban has been imposed until after the election in September, and police have already charged the Agmark Shipping company for importing beer to Buin.

The Bougainville police commander, Francis Tokura, issued a warning those seeking to smuggle alcohol into the region. New Dawn FM reported him saying people and companies would be arrested and charged.

But the candidate Helen Hakena, a longtime women's advocate, said the ban had led to an increase in local alcohol production, as people turned to home brewing.

She said the ban was already causing problems for women.

"Gender based violence has increased. There are a lot of drunkards moving around communities, and they are causing greater concern to us because when people are campaigning they shout and scream and disturb the candidates," Ms Hakena said.

"At the same time, there are vehicles being used at high speed so we are risking our lives, particularly at the hands of those who are drunk."

Prolonged bans on alcohol are not uncommon in Papua New Guinea but they often spark a surge in homebrew, which can be fatal.

Meanwhile, Ms Hakena was confident of her transition into politics.

"Because for the last 30 years I have been working with the people and I have done my homework, working with the people, and people know me," she said.

"My profile is high among the communities we have worked in."

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