Nothing less than robust political will and the full-fledged cooperation of both the public and all agencies and stakeholders will be able to deal with the drug problem on a sustainable basis
After nearly three years of sittings the Drug Commission Enquiry chaired by former Judge Lam Shang Leen has finalized its report and submitted it to the Ag. President of the Republic, Barlen Vyapoory late on Wednesday night. Given the long amount of time that the Commission has taken to complete its work, it is no surprise that the Chair and assessors are feeling relieved that their task is accomplished.
What irony that on the same day, that is Wednesday last, a lady from Zimbabwe was arrested with 55 boulettes of heroin, and a South African engineer too was arrested – both at the airport – with cannabis powder and seeds in his possession. Of course, as far as our airport is concerned this is practically ‘matters as usual’! – so frequent are these arrests on an almost daily basis. Will we see a decline in this trend any time in future?
“What irony that on the same day that the report of the Drug Commission Enquiry was submitted, that is Wednesday last, a lady from Zimbabwe was arrested with 55 boulettes of heroin, and a South African engineer too was arrested – both at the airport – with cannabis powder and seeds in his possession. Of course, as far as our airport is concerned this is practically ‘matters as usual’! – so frequent are these arrests on an almost daily basis. Will we see a decline in this trend any time in future?”
Well, that’s what all concerned citizens will be anticipating and expecting henceforth with the submission of this report. We reiterate our appeal to the authorities to make this Report public, for a number of very cogent reasons:
- For the sake of transparency;
- For the sake of the government’s credibility and image;
- To be in line with the Prime Minister’s categorical statement that he will go all the way to rid the country of the drug problem once and for all – completing, in a way, the positive work that was initiated by his father when he was PM, in taking several bold steps after he received the Report from the Rault Commission that he had set up;
- Because the work of the Commission has been funded by public money and therefore the public has a right to know what are the exact contents;
- Because several personalities linked to the government have been interrogated by the Commission, and any attempt at keeping the Report away from the public will automatically give rise to suspicion that the authorities want to hide information contained in the Report;
- To show to all international watchdogs that the government has nothing to hide and is ‘walking the talk’ as regards the drugs scourge in the country;
- Because the public has trusted the Commission all these three years, and is confident that whatever observations it has made and whatever measures it has recommended have been done in all seriousness and after very careful thought;
- Because the citizens, in the form of NGOs, other civil society organizations involved in this battle and all stakeholders must be made aware of all the related issues, and all the measures contained therein so that they can lend their support according to their different capacities; and in fact the authorities must actively enlist their support without which the objective of the government may not be achieved.
This is indeed a golden opportunity for the country to be cleaned at all levels of the rot that has set in as a result of what is nothing less than a cancer-like invasion of our society that has been penetrating deeper and deeper, with collusions from different quarters. Nothing less than robust political will and the full-fledged cooperation of both the public and all agencies and stakeholders concerned with this problem will be able to deal with it on a sustainable basis.
What we would be loathe to see is the scenario that followed the Rault Commission Report, namely that there were only a few years of respite, and then drugs started to spread again. And we know that now it is the synthetic drugs that are creating the most havoc, especially amongst the youth who are compromising if not destroying their future in the process.
We must therefore put all the cards on our side and lead a relentless battle with all the resources at our command, based on the recommendations of the Lam Shang Leen Report so that success is assured. No less.
* Published in print edition on 27 July 2018