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Don’t blame shooting on buai ban, says Parkop

Port Moresby Governor  Powes Parkop has rejected public views that the Friday shooting deaths of two villagers by police should be blamed on his betelnut ban campaign.

"We have not enforced the ban in Motu-Koitabu villages since the ban was declared in October, 2013," Mr Parkop said yesterday.

"Betelnut has been sold openly in these villages despite the ban," Governor Parkop said.

Hanuabada in Fairfax Harbour is the biggest Motu-Koitabu coast village in the National Capital District.

Mr Parkop made this comment in response to a letter to the editor, "Parkop must resign" in the Post-Courier newspaper yesterday over the Hanuabada killings which came soon after a police raid on buai vendors at the village main market.

The Governor said in a text message to the newspaper that the NCDC police and city rangers do not enforce the ban in the Motu-Koitabu villages out of respect for their leaders and people.

"Last Friday, the police were invited there to clear vendors off the road as they were encroaching on the road and affecting flow of traffic," he said.

"They were invited by the villagers and not sent on our direction.

"Perhaps the tactic used or misunderstanding caused vendors to attack them resulting in police having to defend themselves and in the melee fatal shots were fired."

He explained that the police action last Friday was not part of the betelnut ban exercise.

"It was for clearing road access. 95 per cent of vendors at the market are outsiders and not local villagers.

"So it is wrong to link the shooting and killings directly to the betel nut ban. I reject that completely," Governor Parkop said.

Source: Post Courier/ONEPNG

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