Friday 25 November 2022

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has urged Parliament to consider an increase in penalties for alcohol and drug related offences as a deterrent to alcohol-induced problems in the country, including returning a parliamentary committee to manage this issue in a bi-partisan approach. 

He has also called on provincial governors to step up by utilizing their powers to control alcohol use and alcohol-related problems in their respective provinces.

The Prime Minister made these remarks in Parliament this week,  while responding to Western Highlands Governor Hon. Wai Rapa who asked for a ban on alcohol production and sales as a way to solve these issues.

PM Marape said to give perspective to beer-drinking and alcohol use, law & order problems associated with drinking was happening because of the abuse of alcohol more than the alcohol itself.

“I suggest that, as a national approach, we increase the penalty for alcohol-associated problems, homebrew, and drug abuse as solutions going forward.

“We can increase the penalty for alcohol related offence so it becomes a deterrent. Papua New Guinean parliamentarians and citizens: do not be afraid of us increasing the penalty.”

Mr Marape urged provincial governors to make laws in relation to alcohol control in respective provinces.

“You already have the power under provincial liquor licensing. Now utilize that power – restrict unnecessary drinking all over the place; control the times and place such as at proper clubs.

“As for the police, I need not tell you your job. When someone is drinking and drunk in public space, you pick them and lock them up. Police personnel themselves must not drink when they are on duty.

“These are the small things that need to be in place so we order the behavior of our citizens properly.

“I cannot put a stop to someone’s right to drink beer but it has to be done in a proper manner.

“It is an industry that also creates employment and generates revenue.

“This Parliament is recommended to pass greater penalty for alcohol-related problems in our country,” said the Prime Minister.