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 Label Illicit Substance Trafficking as Non-Billable Offense

Commissioner George W. Howe, Jr. called on policymakers to label illicit substance trafficking as non-billable offense; and warned that substance abuse is rapidly becoming controversial and problematic in the Liberian society.

Commissioner Howe stressed that “as we find ourselves at this point in our country’s path to economic growth, peace and sustainable development; we are faced with a very controversial issue of substance abuse which, if not corrected, could lead to a growing substance abuse crisis.  In my mind, we should treat drug carriers with the same law against rape so that traffickers will have life imprisonment,” Howe said.

He cautioned, that Liberia and its people must fight this growing cancer with everything that we have,” he continued. “The next victim of substance abuse just might be someone dear to you. No one is immune, as we are all affected directly or indirectly. Substance abuse continues to proliferate through our social and economic structures.”

The Commission’s newly appointed Commissioner, who has oversight on Political and Legal Reforms /Decentralization Mandate Area, described the situation as a very serious threat to the country’s youthful population.  He also emphasized that substance abuse is a global problem, particularly among young people.  Commissioner Howe pointed out that the Commission is obligated by its mandate to raise such awareness and invite relevant institutions, opinion leaders and researchers around the table to dialogue on the way forward.  

The Commissioner also informed participants that the dialogue was a result of many consultations held between the GC and other relevant stakeholders on the need to hold a policy dialogue on the emerging substance abuse crisis and its effects on the Liberian economy.

Commissioner Howe made this suggestion in the presence of members of the 54th Legislature, including the Senate Committee Chairman on Internal Affairs, Good Governance and Reconciliation, J. Gbleh-bo Brown of Maryland County; and Representative Larry P. Younquoi of Nimba County, amongst others at the one-day policy dialogue organized by the Governance Commission.  The dialogue was held at the Bella Casa Hotel, Sinkor on October 7, 2020.

Presentations were made by three panelists from the following agencies of government:  Ministries of Justice, Health; and the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA).  The panelists presented on three thematic focus areas, which included a Legal - Political Perspective; a Criminal - Correction Perspective; and a Public Health Perspective. The panelists hoped that their perspectives on the thematic focus areas provided the information that will create the corridor for the best professional advice to the government and the people of Liberia. The Commission recognized that the government, CSOs and other partners have all done well in fighting substance abuse but believed that the dialogue will also necessitate periodic review of progress and strategies to ensure that we are always one step ahead of those who attempt to violate the laws.  

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