THE CHAPTER on the sale of buai (betel nut) in public places has folded once again in Port Moresby. The vendors are again victorious and are back to their usual buai selling spots and it is business as usual.
The heavy arm tactics to clamp down and frighten buai sellers did not work. This is the only source of income and survival for the unemployed grassroots, most of these people are immigrants from other provinces, mostly from the Highlands region.
The only way to stop these informal activities is to send them back to their provinces, put them on the dole or allow them to continue vending with some strict control measures. The first and second measures may be very expensive but the last may work.
The buai spitting and littering is not done by the sellers but buyers. The buyers are the ones that litter the place when they chew the nut. However, the buai sellers are providing lime as their business incentive. The city authorities must also take note that this informal vending has also drastically reduced pick pocketing and other petty crimes in the city.
My proposal here may not be the best solution of may not be conducive to many but may shed some light. Instead of the city authorities using heavy handed tactics, the must work alongside these people. All vendors operating in public places apart from the informal markets must register with NCDC annually and carry identification cards. They must provide proper tables to display their wares.
They must keep the areas where they are conducting vending neat and tidy at all times. They must not provide lime as an incentive and the buyers provide their own lime.
City rangers are to be allocated at these venues to constantly carry out awareness and educate both the vendors and buyers on littering. Any vendor who does not abide by these rules must be penalized by forfeiting their registration. And NCDC must diligently remove rubbish.
I believe this may be the only solution to the problem.
Gordons Market Observer