“We go back to 2013, ’14, ’15 and up until today, this situation continues to persist,” says Milne Bay Provincial Administrator, Michael Kape.
“I as the administrator of this province, I appeal to community and leaders at all levels to stand together and address this issue.
“Government has been spending a lot of resources, in particular finances. We bring in the task force to attend to this situation but this law and order situation is still persisting. And something has got to be done about it.
“And because Alotau, Milne Bay Province, has been declared a government priority area for tourism, I appeal also to the leaders that we need the support of the national government to assist in this regard.
“This is so that we do not put Alotau in the hands of people who are now perpetrating the law and order situation that we are now witnessing.
“We need special intervention from the Government so this can be addressed once and for all.”
The tourist hotspot of Alotau is expecting 16 cruise ships this year, with the first visit by Sea Princess today.
While there have been talks of setting up a dusk-to-dawn curfew, the plan is yet to be enforced, with concerns raised by those in the tourism industry, wondering if they will be issued special passes to move around.
It is understood the ships arrive at dawn, berth at the wharf by 6am and sail out by 7pm.
However, the Provincial Administrator says the curfew idea is on hold as the jurisdiction lies with the Government.
“Apparently the provincial executive council (PEC) does not have the jurisdiction to impose the curfew, it lies with the police commissioner. So the provisions of the curfew have to be specified to us so that when police go into operation, they know exactly what provision of the curfew should be enforced,” Kape clarified.
“The PEC met on the 29th of January and have recommended for the national government to approve the curfew. So right now there is no curfew in the province.”
(Milne Bay Provincial Administrator, Michael Kape)