NIP approves betelnut markets, control measures

The New Ireland provincial executive council has approved designated betelnut markets and control measures for the sale of betelnut.

The PEC meeting on June 16 has restricted the chewing and spitting of buai at public places.

The approvals will regulate and guide the already existing betelnut policy under the New Ireland Betelnut Management Act 2013.

New Ireland will not ban buai as it is linked to their traditions and cultures. However, it will restrict sales at urban centres, in public transport, shopping centres and shops, hospitals and other public venues.

There will be total ban of betelnut chewing in all Government offices.

The main Kavieng Town Market will have a total buai ban but sales can be done at Sivasat to cater for the Islanders, and Putput/Kaut junction markets for Boluminski Highway commuters, Konos and Pinikidu villages for the Konos business centre, Bopire and Punam markets for Namatanai town, Kunaiye and Lipuko markets for Lihir Island and Pigiput Bamboo and TI beach markets for Simberi Island.

Spot charges and fines will apply under the law, which include K100 fine or community service for chewing, spitting and littering in unauthorised locations.

Other penalties cover drunkenness in public places, public disturbance and nuisance which also have a penalty of K100 or police charges.

More hefty fines of K500 or appropriate police charge will be slapped on those who assault a ranger or police officer, sell in unauthorised locations or build unauthorised structures within the authorized zones to sell betelnut.

The respective Local Level Governments will assist to regulate and manage the betelnut markets within the designated areas.

The public have been urged to help police enforce the law by reporting offences; they can also take photos of offenders and submit to the relevant LLG or authority as evidence.

All public transport that carry betelnut and sellers from the highway or boat operators have been advised that the only place to deliver the betelnut is as spelt out above.

“Betelnut is not our enemy, it is part of our culture,” said Governor Sir Julius Chan.

“We are not doing this to marginalise our people. This has come about because of the irresponsibility of many of our betelnut consumers who carelessly spit on public property with disregard to their fellow New Irelanders. We are striving for a smarter, healthier and cleaner New Ireland and these measures taken will ensure we get there.

“Betelnut will always be there, like it has always been for thousands of years and there is a time and place for it, but for now we must all take ownership of how we sell and dispose of it.

“Nothing stays the same; we must all accept this fact and embrace the change that is before us.”

Press release