Mr Speaker, I rise tocomment on the policy Statement that wasmade by the Hon Deputy Minister for theInterior, on the occasion of the 2016World Drug Day. As he said, theinternational day against drug abuse andillicit trafficking started from Wednesday,22nd June, 2016 to Sunday, 26th June, 2016. We all know of the evil impact of drugson society. In terms of economy, it leadsto corruption, it leads to distortions thatcould affect the very essence of thecountry's economic wellbeing. In terms ofthe social aspect, family break-ups, thedestruction of youthful ambition and avery negative impact on the social aspectof the society.
When we look at it, we know that drugabuse and illicit drug trafficking is a cankerand there have been very many initiativesto try and reduce the impact of this on oursociety. Some of the interventions includewhat we call prohibition, which means that,illicit drugs are outlawed. It also meansthat if you are caught in possession ofthese drugs, you are jailed. There is a new initiative that looks atdrug abuse, especially as a healthcondition and that if you are a drug addict,there has to be health considerations intrying to mitigate that situation, by lettingyou go before a medical board and we seehow we can reduce or get rid of youraddiction. That in itself, is now opened tocontention in the social norms. This isbecause some people believe that onceyou abuse drugs, then you are a criminal.But we want to get away from that. Andthe Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) Billhas taken that into consideration, andwhen it is put before the plenary, we wouldlook at it indepth and we would argue thepoints made. The trafficking of drugs, we realisedthe impact, and if I can cite some countriesin South and North America -- Thebreakdown of law and order is a result ofthe kind of monies switching around,which can be used to corrupt, and that iswhy I said, ‘distort society'. So, it is imperative that the theme forthis year's celebration is, ‘Listen First';and we direct that at our youth, so thatthey understand that drug abuse and drugtrafficking are not going to help oursociety. So, as I speak today, I speak toour youth, who listen to the experts. Listento the fact that, we as a developingcountry cannot afford a culture of drugabuse and drug trafficking.
If it is there, we have to get rid of it asquickly as possible. Otherwise, thisnation, as it stands, would be in danger.We cannot have distortions in terms ofthe social and the economic aspects ofour country. So, ‘Listen First' is a veryimportant theme and we should follow it. On that note, I would like to thank theHon Deputy Minister for the Interior, forthe policy Statement and wish that ‘ListenFirst' becomes something that isembedded in our youth. Thank you, Mr Speaker, for theopportunity.