Police issue final warning to  KHY betel nut vendors

Market vendors listening during the awareness
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Police in the Western province have issued its last warning call on vendors at the KHY area, Gizo town, to vacate the premises and stop their vending there.

This follows what police say ‘many calls’ for vendors to do so, but have been ignored.

Speaking during an awareness program held at KHY yesterday, Western province police commander Chief Superintendent Mathias Lenialu said Gizo police will take the warning seriously and those who ignore the announcement will be dealt with accordingly.

He said Gizo police has been lenient with vendors over the past months and it is time to take orders seriously.

Western Province Chief Superintendent Mathias Lenialu

Lenialu told vendors that the recent gazette order given to Western Province which prohibits selling of betel nut is still enforced until the gazette order is revoked.

He adds that the gazette order is very clear with its intention and that is to protect the general public from getting infected by COVID-19.

“If you continue to abstract the orders, we will enforce the order according to what is expected.

“You must understand that we enforce the orders for your safety, Lenialu said.

He urged vendors to work closely with authorities to map out effective strategy that would help vendors livelihoods at the same time minimise COVID-19 transmission.

Another police officer, Alick Aleseua shared similar sentiment saying that State of Public Emergency (SOPE) regulations and orders are to protect people of Solomon Islands during COVID-19.

Alick Aleseua from Gizo Police speaking during the awareness

He said COVID-19 regulations under SOPE gives power to authorised organisations such as medical officers, immigration officers, biosecurity officers, police officers and correctional officers among other to enforce COVID-19 Safety protocols.

Aleseua said the functions of these authorised institutions under SOPE includes; vaccination of people, enforce orders, disseminating of information in public regarding COVID-19 safety procedures and measures.

He adds that they are also authorised to question people who breached COVID-19 Safety Protocols, cease properties that are determined to be harmful or risky to public safety.

Alesua said those breached COVID-19 regulations and orders can face up to 72 hours in detention center.

 “We are still under living SOPE regulations and orders until it is revoked.

“It is sad that people continues to defy the order,” he said.