The sustained media interest in the affair connecting one Jean Hubert Celerine, also known as Franklin, to alleged drug trafficking between Reunion and Mauritius over the past weeks should not have gone unnoticed by most local civil society and political observers, the Opposition itself and possibly foreign embassies and consulates in the country. What has come out to date is a series of upsetting disclosures about the networks of drug dealing established to keep the business unhindered until very recently. More detailed revelations about people and personalities from different walks of life associated with that particular affair are expected to come out sooner or later, and are believed to be more explosive than all that has come out in public so far.
The catastrophic consequences on society of proliferating drugs are all too well known. We may never know how deeply society has been cankered by this scourge, given the fundamentally covert nature of this activity. Estimates that have been worked out by dedicated agencies and NGOs should probably be tripled or quadrupled. What came out clearly in two earlier different commissions of inquiry reports – the ones presided by Justices Rault and Lam Shang Leen – pointed to some lower level politicians and public officials who would have put key public institutions involved in the fight against drugs and crimes at counter-purposes with themselves. In a shocking development years ago four MPs were arrested in Amsterdam in a notorious drug trafficking case. Institutions which should have been at the forefront of the battle against drugs in the country allowed themselves to be infested by the worm of corruption and greed.
Sir Anerood Jugnauth was obligated to take the bull by the horns following the submission of the Raul Report lest the drug scourge prevalent during his prime ministership could have potentially brought down his government, and his decisive actions helped his party avert an electoral rout subsequently. What seemed like a reprieve from the drug scourge would not last long however if we go by the recent statement of the current Prime Minister about the billions worth of drug seizures and thousands of police arrests. Again these figures provide no indication of what filtered through, avoiding detection by our agencies. We do not know yet the full range of the perverse ramifications of this illicit industry in the country these days, though some have estimated the proceeds of the illicit industry at several percent of our GDP. The question is whether we should consider the fight against the proliferation of drugs as lost in advance if it has again managed to infiltrate the system to such an extent. If it can embarrass today a large swathe of officials responsible for the upkeep of the law and order system against powerful drug cartels, can it be dealt with effectively? If political parties have also been benefiting from perverse donations from this source, will they in any way help to arrest it? Read More… Become a Subscriber
Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 10 February 2023
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