KONDERVAN’S (real name or pseudonym?) points of argument against my letter regarding the proposed blanket ban on betelnut in the capital city by the NCDC were taken out of context and in doing so, he distorted the whole points.
Kondervan started off erroneously in his opening statement by stating that I stated ‘the proposed ban on betelnut is detrimental to the masses of the city dwellers.’ This is false and a total distortion. I categorically stated that there are families in the city that betelnut constitutes their ultimate source of survival. The banning of betelnut would sever their lifeline and that was akin to homicide. And I posed the question; ‘Does NCDC has any alternative plan for these people?’
This is fact. There are families whose welfare depends on the proceeds of betelnut sales. Whether this people are Engan fathers, mothers and children, Simbus or Western Highlanders, they are Papua New Guineans. They are our people. They have every right to live in the capital city and conduct any legitimate business to take care of themselves.
The betelnut trade is a legitimate enterprise. If Kondervan doesn’t know yet, betelnut has already become part of the cash economy like cocoa, coffee etc in today’s economy. It has become a commercial crop.
Betelnut is here to stay. The modern force of cash culture is gradually driving the traditional norms and cultures of betelnut into the brink of extinction. People have built decent homes and bought vehicles with money from betelnut. Some of this people are Western Highlanders. Among the highlanders that died in the seas while looking for betelnut were Western Highlanders. To discriminate one ethnic group as peddlers of betelnut and litterers of the city in the public media is totally unacceptable. Kondervan should apologise to Engans.
Furthermore, if Kondervan thinks money is not life in a city like Port Moresby, it shows his ignorance of the realities of the modern city life. One can not live a noble, honest and healthy life that Kondervan preached about in a city like Port Moresby without money. May be in Baiyer or in the out back of Mt. Ambra, yes, not in Port Moresby and neither in Mt. Hagen city.
Moreover, to think that people would commence dying when betelnut is banned is narrow minded. My argument in its whole context is that human beings have the wits to survive. If one source of survival is severed, naturally people will react to find other ways to survive.
In a city like Port Moresby, if they don’t find any legitimate ways like unskilled jobs, they will still resort to other means and ways whether legal or illegal, healthy or unhealthy, noble or immoral. The consequences of the negativity would be far detrimental and costly than the effects of silly little ice breaking gesture and payments for errands in brothels that Kondervan talked about.
After all, the paramount concern of NCDC in the whole issue is the betelnut litter and the cost of cleaning it. In my letter, I suggested for both to be passed back to the betelnut sellers and users in a regulated mechanism.
For the information of the public and Kondervan, NCDC has been reconsidering its stance to issue licenses (registrations) to traders to sell betelnut at designated sites- my original proposals aren’t they? As for you Kondervan, if you are man enough, you should apologise to the Engans in PNG for discriminating them as betelnut peddlers and litterers of Port Moresby city.
Source: Post Courier.
Related articles about betelnut (buai) in Papua New Guinea.
1) Betelnut sales and consumption is allowed in Port Moresby but should be sold in specific sites
2) Port Moresby police destroy Gerehu suburb Waikele Buai Market and assault vendors
3) Port Moresby police assault betelnut sellers and street vendors