KELA KAPKORA SIL BOLKIN
PORT MORESBY - There is a band of men scavenging in Port Moresby from outlying areas that the National Capital District Commission (NCDC) has seen fit to mobilise, giving them the mandate to sieve betel nut vendors and chewers.
This week the NCDC announced 200 bus stop wardens or city rangers will help keep law and order and protect our womenfolk who transit at the bus stops.
City residents received the announcement with sadness since they know these men to be thugs and brutes.
Although the idea is noble, these thugs will carry screwdrivers, machetes, clubs and iron rods to bruise and chop anybody stalking women or selling or spitting betel juice on footpaths, bus stops, and walls.
At what point does necessary intervention become unnecessary brutality?
The arming of these thugs with weapons may not be the intent of NCDC but broken noses, open cuts, coercion and the looting of money and valuables from vendors, especially mothers, are associated with city rangers doing their rounds.
The most repugnant sight is their attack and wounding of people for minor offences if these people have the guts to question their primitive advances.
Coastal girls suspected of chewing were stalked by these filthy rangers who literally had their dirty fingers in the girls’ mouths to prove they had chewed.
Sometimes these thugs search mouths whilst others of their kind cheer them on and do nothing to stop these advances.
At other times those caught chewing, spitting or smoking marijuana are arrested, taken aside and told the fine is K1,000 and that they have to pay upfront.
If they do not than the next option is to be locked up in the police cells and eventually be ferried to Bomana gaol.
The third option is to pay a bribe of K100 to the guy who arrested them and go free.
Being aware of the ordeal with police and cell blocks, the person arrested by the city ranger will usually accept the third option of paying the bribe. In such an environment, the rangers make a fortune each day.
Another concern is the rangers’ filthy appearance. They look more like some guys just surfaced after being stranded underground in a coal mine for many months.
They probably don’t have water where they live but whoever engages them needs to polish them and teach them how to communicate with people in English, Pidgin or Motu.
One hardly hears words such as ‘please, excuse me, thank you’ from the mob of city rangers. They never use polite words if they need to convey a message, question or make an arrest if a law is thought to have been broken.
Since their engagement as city rangers they have not impressed and nobody speaks well of them. The people equate the city rangers with mob attack and brutality.
Despite being in the bad books, the rangers have been given an additional honour to patrol the bus stops and protect our womenfolk.
This move by NCDC is dangerous because the rangers have yet to be properly schooled about human rights and how to protect women.
And a caveat NCDC, there is a saying that pet crocodiles and pythons can sometimes renege on loyalty and devour their owners.