In the National Assembly

In the National Assembly
In the National Assembly

Africa-Press – Seychelles. Government reaffirms commitment to combat drug trafficking
● Calls for national effort to fight the scourge

Designated Minister Jean-François Ferrari has reaffirmed government’s commitment to fight against drug trafficking in the country and said nothing will dissuade it from this mission, which featured highly in its political manifesto, which voters chose in 2020.

Mr Ferrari was answering a private notice question (PNQ) brought by the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Sebastien Pillay, yesterday, following several operations recently by the police, assisted by the military, including one last week at ex-Kan Gard, Mont Fleuri, where it was alleged a rubber ball grenade was used.

Hon. Pillay wanted to know who were carrying out the operations, the number of arrests and the amount of drugs seized so far.

He also queried as to whether the operations were based on concrete information and the public’s concerns after reports of officers coming in confrontation with citizens including the elderly and children.

He also wanted to know when will the government come forward with concrete information on these incidents and take responsibility for human rights abuses that may be committed during those operations.

In his introductory remarks, Designated Minister Ferrari, who was accompanied by commissioner of police Ted Barbe, said drugs was a national concern and the majority of people were concerned about its impact on the youth, the country’s workforce and destroying the society. It was therefore imperative that every Seychellois joins in the fight to find solutions to eliminate drugs.

“Unfortunately not all Seychellois are concerned in the same way, some through their actions and criticism, which is unnecessary and inappropriate, are demoralising those who are fighting against drugs in the country. Some are so concerned about everything that is bad, look for all the failings in these operations instead of recognising the hard work by the police force and the military, but rather spend their time criticising the officers who are serving their country with determination and and courage,” said Mr Ferrari.

He said the majority of people may have at one point known a person or close family who has been afflicted by drugs and wanted to seize this opportunity to reiterate President Wavel Ramkalawan’s call to “leave our differences on the matter aside and work together to save our country. We will have a chance to do politics in 2025. Today is not the time to do politics on the fight against drugs”.

Designated Minister Ferrari thanked the officers involved in the operations and said although things may not always go according to plan, those officers were doing their best in such difficult circumstances, and were not the enemies but rather the friends of the people and should be treated accordingly.

When referring to the use of rubber ball grenade, Mr Ferrari said correct information should be given so as not to confuse and scare the public, and “the police take all the necessary precautions in these operations to prevent any injuries to civilians”.

This was confirmed by commissioner of police Ted Barbe who said his officers are “well trained and know what to do to minimise any risks during these operations”.

Referring to last week’s incident at ex-Kan Gard, the commissioner of police said the public should be aware that contrary to what was being said about his officers using violence against the children present, it was the children who were attacking the officers by throwing rocks, bottles, and some were in possession of knives.

“They had circled the police force and it was for that reason that they had to use the means available to disperse the crowd,” added the commissioner.

For his part, Minister Ferrari added that the government remains committed in the fight against drugs as it “is a noble one, one that is necessary, and one that our government is determined to carry out. The fight against drugs will be a long one and it will be difficult but we need to move. We do not have a choice. We will not allow those who for political reasons or selfishness or personal gain prevent us from moving forward”.

He concluded by calling for a national effort and patriotic drive to fight the scourge.

It should be noted that all the members who intervened during the session expressed their support for the fight against drug trafficking in the country, but called on government to ensure that everything is done in transparency and above board and that human rights are respected.

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