No. B/881) Mr O. Mahomed (Third Member for Port Louis South & Port Louis Central) asked the Rt. Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, Home Affairs, Minister for Rodrigues and National Development Unit whether, in regard to Constituency No. 2, more specifically, in the Plaine Verte, Vallee Pitot, Tranquebar, Bangladesh and Camp Manna regions, he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain from the Commissioner of Police, information as to whether a deterioration in the situation concerning synthetic and other drugs thereat has been observed lately and, if so, indicate –
(a) the extent and reasons thereof
(b) the number of searches effected thereat in relation to possession and selling of synthetic and other drugs, since January 2015 to date, indicating the outcomes thereof, and
(c) if a correlation has been established between the said situation and the posting of Officers of the Anti-Drug Smuggling Unit.
The Ag. Prime Minister: Madam Speaker, I am informed by the Commissioner of Police that the number of synthetic and other drug cases for Constituency No. 2 particularly Plaine Verte, Vallée Pitot and Tranquebar including Bangladesh and Camp Manna for the period January 2015 to 10 November 2016 are as follows –
(i) 128 cases including 7 cases of synthetic cannabinoids for the year 2015, and
(ii) 72 cases including 11 cases of synthetic cannabinoids for the period January to 10 November 2016.
An analysis of the statistics does not reveal any increase in the number of drug cases established by the ADSU for the regions of Plaine Verte, Vallée Pitot and Tranquebar. It cannot therefore be inferred that the situation in that matter has deteriorated there.
In regard to part (a) of the question, I am informed by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life that over the last two years, the availability of synthetic cannabinoids has greatly increased in Mauritius. Police avers that many of the cannabis consumers may have shifted to synthetic drugs due to curiosity, large coverage by the media and its lower price compared to other drugs in the market.
Regarding part (b) of the question, I am informed by the Commissioner of Police that 156 searches have been carried out by Police in calendar year 2015 whereas a total of 79 searches have been effected from 01 January 2016 to 10 November of the same year in the regions of Plaine Verte, Vallée Pitot, Tranquebar, Bangladesh and Camp Manna. 128 searches have been fruitful and drugs were found and seized in 2015, and 72 so far in 2016. It is, therefore, clear, Madam Speaker, that the number of searches has decreased over this year compared to last year and I have brought this to the attention of the Commissioner of Police.
In regard to part (c) of the question, I am informed that there has been no change in posting of officers of ADSU except for the promotion of one Sergeant to the grade of Inspector of Police. As such, this has had no bearing on the performance of the ADSU.
I wish to highlight the fact that this Government is conscious of the seriousness of the drug problem including, the damage being done by the synthetic drugs. This is precisely why we have set up the Commission of Inquiry on Drug Trafficking which started its assignment on 04 November 2015. In fact, we are awaiting its recommendations as well as any proposals for statutory amendments in order to decide on further improvements to be made.