PNG AG warns drug smuggling a trigger for other issues

PNG Attorney-General Davis Steven. Picture: POST COURIER

PORT MORESBY, 29 AUGUST 2018 (THE NATIONAL) – The country is vulnerable to international drug smuggling activities that can facilitate other transnational illegal activities, says Papua New Guinea Minister for Justice and Attorney-General Davis Steven.

“Given globalisation, our country and its citizens are faced with the risk of drug smuggling activities of various types that can entail related transnational criminal activities,” he said.

“The use of drugs and its effects have increased significantly in the last five years, according to reports released by the departments of Education, Community Development and Health. This affects the nation’s aspirations to attain its required Human Development Index target which contributes significantly towards sustainable socio-economic development.”

Steven presented in Parliament a ministerial statement on the re-establishment of the National Narcotics Control Board.

“Drugs and substance abuse, particularly marijuana and homebrew consumption, have devastated the lives of our youths and contributed to the law and order issues,” he said.

He said “youths” were those between 17 and 30.

The National Narcotic Bureau was transferred to his department in May 2016 from the prime minister’s department which it was under since 1992.

“Under my Department, the bureau was able to get recognition from development partners and donors which included the funding of some of its planned activities such as a stakeholder workshop in 2017, and awareness in schools in Central and the National Capital District this year.”

Meanwhile, the current three years maximum jail term cannot deter drug offenders, Chimbu police commander Chief Superintendent Jacob Singura says.

He highlighted this after seeing an increase in marijuana cultivation, trading and consumption in Chimbu despite awareness and arrests by police

“I call on the Government to amend section 3 (1) (d) and 3 (1) (e) of the Dangerous Drugs Act to increase penalties for drug offenders,” Sigura said.

He said current court penalties of two to three years cannot deter offenders.

Singura commended Chimbu’s Weeding Grass Operation led by Commander Detective Sergeant Yatefa Welis for moving around the rural areas to uproot marijuana plants and carry out awareness.

He said police were working very hard on awareness and arrests but the courts were too lenient or penalties too light.

Singura confirmed the Weeding Grass team raided a huge marijuana garden at KMR village in Chuave at the weekend and uprooted 3256 marijuana plants at three locations.

“I call on community leaders to work with the team or police to stop marijuana because it is spoiling youthful generations,” Singura said.

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