PEOPLE of Kairuku-Hiri, Central Province, and other Papua New Guineans have been adversely affected since the subsidiary legislation passed by the National Capital District Commission to ban betel nut.
Speaking in Parliament on Friday during grievance debate, Kairuku-Hiri MP, Peter Isoaimo, asked the government for a better alternative than banning betel nut outright in the city as it has more negative effects.
He said it is not the filth and the rubbish that is the problem but rather the mindset of the people which must be achieved through developing their needs.
“Regardless of the other views of elected leaders, I stand here representing my people of Kairuku-Hiri. My people are suffering because of the subsidiary legislation passed by the National Capital District Commission board which we call the Buai Ban law which has cost a lot of lives and have cost my people a lot and those that are involved in the informal sector,” he said.
“I speak on behalf of those mothers and fathers who cannot find a job in because of lack of opportunities we have made as poor choices as leaders in both past and resent which has resulted in this predicament.”
Mr Isoaimo said laws such as banning betel nut only denied opportunities and as elected leaders, the development and enrichment of people must be safeguarded to ensure a better life for every individual in the country.
“I speak as a national leader without fear of favour of being criticised for the filth that betel nut creates in Port Moresby City and I speak because of the livelihood of most of the people in the in formal sector which affects most of, 80%, of our people negatively.
“People can say it is a filthy habit and that it is bad but that is the way our people prefer to live. We are leaders because we are conditioned to think differently and we were conceived with a special purpose to affect the changes.
“My proposal is that let us provide a place for them, they have rights under the constitution. If we are to ban betel nut in the city, let us ban alcohol which has caused a lot of fear in our societies as well. Alcohol is a worse eyesore and marijuana has caused a lot of problem for our society.
“They cause more filth in the city. A drunken man sleeping on the side of the road is much filthier than plastic containing rubbish in it. I think we need to change the approach here.”
Mr Isoaimo said some NCDC police personnel have betel nut stuffed in their mouth while enforcing the ban while their wives sell betel nuts at their homes during the enforcement.
He said apart from the genuine ones, a hand full of hypocrites have been created by this law to suppress people’s rights.
While he commended NCD Governor Powes Parkop’s efforts in beautifying the city, he was reminded of the plight of his people and the other unfortunate population who are just trying to make ends meet.
“They may be called buai sellers and big head people, they are our people. There should be a way around this situation without classifying people without destroying our cities,” Mr Isoaimo said.
“They are not criminals or animals while we rob and assault them physically and verbally. It is a time bomb that will blow up sooner or later and we must consider proposals to resolve the situation.”