BY BEN BILUA
DISGRUNTLED betel vendors stormed the Western Provincial Office last week expressing their disappointment in the lack of opportunities to sell their products.
The protest was carried out following a police response to betel nut vendors who were selling betel nuts in public.
Gizo Police confiscated the vendors’ betel nuts and other products during their patrol.
While accepting vendors’ complaints, Patrick Toiraena, who is the deputy chairperson of Western Province’s Disaster Operation Committee (WPDOC) said a gazette notice was endorsed prohibiting betel nut vendors to sell their products in public places.
“Let me make this clear, requirements for betel nut selling under the gazette notice where police enforced determines that selling of betel nut in public places is prohibited.
“For example, KHY area and other roadside within Gizo, Munda and Noro fall under “public places” as stipulated in the gazette notice – meaning no betel nut vendors are allowed to sell their products at KHY,” he explained.
Toiraena stressed that police have the right to confiscate betel nut from vendors and their (Police) actions is protected by specific clauses in the gazette notice which is a legal instrument to control the selling of betel nut.
He said such regulation is for the good of the general public as far as COVID-19 safety protocol is concerned.
Toiraena said there are venues and times for the selling of betel nuts as approved by WPDOC and adhering to advice is very important.
He calls on betel nut vendors in Noro, Munda, and Gizo to respect the regulations to protect the Western populace.