Pubdate: Fri, 07 Jun 2002
Source: Royal Gazette, The (Bermuda)
Copyright: 2002 The Royal Gazette Ltd.
Author: Matthew Taylor
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


Eighteen months after MPs agreed to drug test themselves not a single 
lawmaker has been analysed.

House of Assembly speaker Stanley Lowe has admitted MPs weren't even at the 
first stages of setting up testing which had been agreed in December 2000.

Speaker Stanley Lowe told The Royal Gazette recently: "It's still under 
active consideration by the Rules and Privileges committee of the House."

He said once that committee considered it the issue will be passed to 
another committee to work on guidelines of how the testing would be done 
but he could not say when this would be done.

Mr. Lowe said the delay was because when the House was on a break it was 
difficult to get people together and this delay wasn't unusual.

He said: "Hopefully we will get working on it again."

Asked if he was happy with the situation he said "yes".

However Opposition Leader Grant Gibbons derided the excuse that it was 
difficult to get members together when the House wasn't sitting.

He said: "It hasn't been able to meet when it is sitting either. I have 
been on that committee since last Fall and it has never met. Frankly drug 
testing is not being pursued."

His colleague Shadow Home Affairs Spokeswoman Patricia Gordon-Pamplin said: 
"It reflects the lack of urgency.

"We expect the community to be drug free yet we don't lead by example.

She said Belco workers and bus drivers were used to regular drug testing as 
part and parcel of their employment.

"But this has just sat on the back burner. Something needs to be done. I 
have to wonder about why there is this reluctance."

Government backbencher Delaey Robinson said he was happy drug testing 
wasn't being done because it smacked of 1984-style situation outlined in 
George Orwell's famous book where the state intruded into everyone's lives.

He said: "It's madness." He said workers forced to take drug tests had a 
right to challenge them under the constitution. Why should they be singled 
out for drug testing?"

He said alcohol was a far more dangerous substance and could result in 
fatalities but he said he was also against testing for that."
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