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No enforcement of new law

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 21, 2009) – Despite a blanket ban on the sale of betelnut in the nation’s Capital Port Moresby the much publicised ban is yet to be enforced.

Street sellers are still selling the nut in public places including some previously designated markets for betelnut selling.

NCD Governor Powes Parkop had announced last year that the National Capital District Commission will be enforcing a total betelnut ban in the city beginning in January but it is now in the middle of the month and the ban is still being ignored.

Yesterday the Post-Courier spoke to many sellers and their customers in various parts of the city and this is what they said.

"Governor Parkop can make a lot of noise and send his men to stop us but we will not be deterred because we depend on it and every Papua New

Guinean will still come looking for us," said a betelnut seller at Gordon market bus stop.

"Governor Parkop must be realistic, there is no way betelnut chewing will be eradicated and the best obvious place for me to buy my favourite nutis here in public, not at a secluded residential area," one customer said.

Mr Parkop had issued a statement early this month which stated that: "As of 1st January 2009, it is illegal to sell betelnuts and mustard at all public places, especially along side streets, parks and bus stops in the National Capital District.

"This ban will gradually but surely be implemented in the nation’s capital so all vendors must take heed. Officials authorised by the commission will be implementing this ban forthwith."

The ban does not apply to houses and private premises so vendors can still sell betelnut and mustard inside their houses and private premises.

Mr Parkop in his statement explained that the ban was brought about by the vendors’ own irresponsibility.

"Betelnut vendors have over the years shown no respect for the city and its well being. They do not take responsibility for their own action," Mr Parkop said.

"They just want the commission to allow them to trade any where and everywhere and in return they just litter and spread their filth every where.

They and their customers litter and deface our streets and public spaces and the commission waste a long of time and money in cleaning up their filth.

"The fact is that betelnut vendors do not pay any tax to the commission so that the commission can use that money to clean their filth. Unlike vegetable vendors who pay a fee to use the markets facilities to trade, the betel nut vendors will not trade in a confined place. They want to trade everywhere and any where. They want it their way only.

"They want us to listen to them only and not listen to what we want them to hear or have to say. They have closed their eyes and ears to the mess they created and the expenses incurred to clean their mess."

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