By GENO NAU-BUGA
A RATHER unique and stringent community law has been imposed in Kerema town, Gulf province.
Anyone caught uttering an obscene word or phrase in public would pay a spot fine of K50.
Womenfolk in the Central Kerema local level government (LLG) in the Gulf province have joined forces to impose this first-ever community law of a such nature that forbid swearing or uttering of obscene language in public places.
The law was first piloted in September last year in the Central Kerema ward 9 which covers the villages of Kavako, Avere, Pomara, Lavare and Moraá.
The law came about following the formation of a women council in the central Kerema LLG, and their stiff stand on violence against women and children.
The community law has recently been adopted by the Kerema town authority with the Town Mayor, Keith Laurie also imposing it amongst the residents.
The LLG councilor who spearheaded the creation of the community law is John Solela, a former health consultant with the Port Moresby General Hospital. Councilor Solela now lives in the village and does a tremendous job in making the community peaceful and law abiding.
According to Mr Solela, whoever is found swearing or uttering obscene language in public will be immediately reported to a women committee who will then send an invoice to him to pay a spot fine of K50. Failure by the offender to pay up will mean he or she is referred to the village court magistrate.
The penalty given to the offender by the magistrate when they do not pay up is community service work on a foot-bridge which links Pomara to the inland villagers crossing Uamai river.
According to a senior public servant in Kerema, people, especially youths nowadays in many places both in towns and rural places, do not hesitate to use obscene language in front of people. The foul languages are becoming a normal part of conversation by many especially youths.
He said the community law in central Kerema and the town is an eye-opener to other communities in the country to follow suit.