To the disappointment and astonishment of many at parliament who were yesterday expecting the President’s certificate of urgency on the drug law to be debated, parliament did not sit.
On Monday 21st, President Koroma in his first public announcement to the nation about the cocaine bust up promised to leave no stone unturned in the cocaine saga. The President also announced on that day that within the next 72 hours he will be sending under a certificate of urgency to parliament a proposed new Anti-drug law.
The 72 hours was supposed to be up yesterday but parliament did not sit and was adjourned to Tuesday of next week.
Reacting to issue, an opposition Member of Parliament, Hon. Foday Rado Yokie of SLPP from Bo, said he was disappointed and shocked to go to parliament and find out that there was nothing to debate. “I came to parliament on the pretext that we will be discussing the drug law that was to be sent to parliament on a certificate of urgency by the president but to my astonishment nobody spoke to us why parliament was adjourned to Tuesday; and, in fact, to my investigations the drug bill is not even in parliament”
The M.P. further said the present situation in which the country was engulfed with the cocaine menace, expedient actions should be taken in changing the drug laws so as to charge the suspects accordingly. “What I want the president to know is that whatever he says becomes a policy statement and he should not be rushing on matters like that,” he said.
Hon Ibrahim Martin Bangura of APC Bombali district reacted that the Bill has to be carefully drafted to meet international standards before it is debated by parliament as the issue of drugs has international concern. He said he believed the president was ready to pursue the cocaine saga and to ensure that the country was not used as a transit point.
The M.P. also said the president first needed to sign the amendment act of the 1991 constitution which was passed by parliament on Tuesday 22 before any other Bill was sent to parliament.
Parliament is about to go on a recess but it is said the president has requested them to stay a bit for the drug laws and that of the Anti-Corruption Bill to be approved.
Parliament was also supposed to have approved some presidential nominees but they too were referred to Tuesday.
The reason being, according to a parliamentary source, one of the nominees was rejected and it is said the president needed the nominee.
By Ishmael Bayoh & Yu Nakayama