Liberia: Liberia Far From Winning Drugs War

By: Collins Jette – Monrovia-Liberia-November 16, 2010- The Drugs Enforcement Agency organized by the Liberian Government to combat the proliferation of illegal narcotic substances in the country has not been given the necessary support to ensure that Liberia is drugs free, sometime authority of the agency said undermines the effectiveness of the agency to track down drugs traffickers.

The Agency, although crucial in the fight against drugs trafficking, which is prevalent in the region, is being treated like ordinary government functionary with negligible budgetary allocation. But the administration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf claims commitment in the fight against the increase of illegal and controlled substances that are usually used by criminals to cause havoc against peaceful citizens.

The fight against illegal drugs has been a global issue which does not need lip service by all governments but sustained campaign and an uncompromising approach buttressed by adequate budgetary support. It was reported sometimes this year that the government has attempted to dissolve the Drugs Agency and reassign personnel to various security entities, something critics described as counter productive in the drugs war.

Although the Agency has reported success on the field to arrest and destroyed dangerous substances such as cocaine, marijuana and opium amongst others, the agency has been unable to implement one strategic function which is very critical to sustain the drugs war and by extension, undermines the proliferation of drugs trafficking across the country.

The Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency is under obligation to implement what is being refereed to as Alternative Development Program which was designed to counsel or discourage people engaged in such dangerous and illegal practices to provide them an alternative means for another business activity.

But the Agency Deputy Director for Administration, J Henry Shaw aid the Agency with little budgetary support cannot afforded to implement the Alternative Development Project, sometime he described as cost intensive.  The Agency inability to execute the alternative development project due to lack of the adequate budgetary support from the Liberian government is a devastating blow in the war to make Liberia drugs free.

Mr. Shaw said the agency will need between 12 and 14 million United States Dollars annually to embark on such a campaign aimed at discouraging the farmers from plating those dangerous drugs across the country.

Mr. J. Henry Shaw named weak drugs law in the country as being one of their major constraints. He hoped the National Legislature will pass the drugs law that has been before than for sometimes now. There are several individuals mainly foreigners who are currently behind bars in Liberia for allegedly bringing in narcotic drugs in the country.