Plea for ban on homebrew
Youths and chiefs of Somosomo Village in Taveuni have called on Police and Government to ban the consumption of homebrew in villages.
The call comes after 34-year-old Adi Ema Bale was allegedly stabbed to death last Sunday at her home at Dreketi Village, Somosomo, on Taveuni.
Somosomo Youth Club member Melania Baleilekutu pleaded with the authorities to take action on consumption and production of homebrew in villages, saying nothing had been done to address the issue.
Ms Baleilekutu said villagers were still in shock after the death of the housewife because it was understood that the suspect was drinking homebrew before the incident.
“Drinking is a serious issue in the village. This is not a joke and it seriously needs to be addressed by Police and Government,” she said. “Homemade brew in the village is known as small money and big mateni (intoxication). “Otherwise, we will continue to have horrific incidents claiming innocent lives,” Ms Baleilekutu said. Somosomo chief Ratu Jekesoni Yavalavanua said traditional leaders needed to make a stand and abolish the consumption of illicit alcohol in villages and homes. “Villagers and communities need to work together to stop these illicit activities from happening in their community. It is a taboo and it does it cause instability in society,” he said.
Police Divisional Commander Senior Superintendent of Police Eparama Waqa said brewing, drinking and selling homebrew was illegal.
“Under the Penal Code, it is illegal to manufacture, consume or sell homebrew. Those found guilty face six months in jail or a fine of $1000,” SSP Waqa said.
He said Vanua Levu was a hotspot for homebrew and some Labasa market vendors had been charged with selling homebrew. Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports Iliesa Delana said the ministry was determined to find ways to assist youths in this respect. “This is why we have talanoa sessions regularly with young people, to hear from them directly of what they are thinking, their hopes, aspirations and how they could be helped,” Mr Delana said. Meanwhile, Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said the investigation into the death was continuing. “The post mortem examination has been conducted and the suspect remains in custody,” she said.