Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Iqaluit January 09, 2004 - 1:35 pm

Eastern Arctic revelry restrained over holidays

"There was hardly a person on the road. People had smartened up"


The two largest communities in the eastern Arctic were calm over the holiday season, say police in both Iqaluit and Kuujjuaq.

On New Year’s Eve in Iqaluit, members of the RCMP detachment spent the evening on the road checking vehicles and making visits to the licensed establishments.

No incidents were reported at the bars, while, out on the road, police noted few private vehicles.

“There was hardly a person on the road,” said Const. Chris Coles of the Iqaluit detachment.

Police issued a total of 13 vehicle infraction tickets, and two charges of unlawful possession of liquor.

Coles said the RCMP’s campaign against drinking and driving seems to be paying off.

“People had smartened up this year,” Coles said.

The situation was much the same in Kuujjuaq, where the Kativik Regional Police Force noted a 75 per cent drop in calls on New Year’s Eve and a generally peaceful holiday season everywhere in the region.

“It was very, very quiet. It was like a normal day, so to speak. We had a few municipal infractions, a few assaults, nothing we don’t deal with on a daily basis,” said KRPF Chief Brian Jones. “Compared to other years, it was a much less stressful time. We’re very pleased with the cooperation we’re receiving from the municipalities.”

Although there is no taxi service in Kuujjuaq, private parties benefited from a shuttle service organized through the local bar. Police also kept an eye out for drunken drivers and were able to take several off the roads.

Prior to the holiday season, the KRPF seized a total of 57 bottles of hard liquor destined for illegal sale in Kuujjuaq and other Ungava Bay communities. More than a dozen 40-ounce bottles were seized from one woman who was en route to Kangirsuk before Christmas.

All seized booze is immediately disposed off, said Jones, who said some would-be drinkers have attempted break-ins at police stations in the hope of finding a stash of bottles.

Drugs bound for Nunavik were also seized in Montreal, before they could arrive in the region, as a result of operations mounted jointly with the RCMP and provincial police.

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