Robert Webber, Byron Bay
Late last year I flew into Coolangatta after a few days in Dili, East Timor. In my short time there I saw very few police or army personnel, and not one gun.
Arriving after dusk into Byron Bay, within 100m of the town centre, I encountered police on horses, others with dogs, a riot squad car and numerous police patrolling on foot – all of whom were armed.
I had come from a nation now at peace after many years of war to Byron during Schoolies!
This situation would be comical if it were not so sad. I am not alone in finding offensive the call by Hannah Spalding, chair of the Liquor Accord, for an increased police presence (Echo March 5) while yet again rejecting the need for earlier lockouts at licensed venues.
My hope for Byron is that we will have a community where police do not have to be here en masse and that they and hospital carers are not exposed to drunken violence. The Newcastle lockouts have produced a significant reduction in violence but we need to go further and not accept any drunken behaviour on our streets.
The Byron World Café at the Byron Community Centre on Wednesday provides us an opportunity to stop the argy-bargy and to develop creative ideas for reclaiming Byron from the hooligans and vandals, and to set the agenda instead of allowing the liquor outlets to determine the quality of our lives here.