Pubdate: Sun, 09 May 2004
Source: Independent (Malta)
Copyright: 2004, Standard Publications Ltd
Author: Noel Grima


In a courageous move to break a deadlock at legislative level, Gavin Gulia, 
writing officially as the Labour Patty's main spokesman on justice and home 
affairs, yesterday suggested the holding of a "sincere dialogue and 
exchange of views" between MPs and experts as well as security forces 
members regarding a possible upgrade in the drugs laws.

Dr Gulia yesterday wrote to Helen d'Amato, who is still the chairman of the 
parliamentary committee for social affairs, asking her to call a meeting of 
the committee to discuss this issue.

Dr Gulia said he hopes, through this initiative, that consensus can be 
reached so that the laws are changed in such a way as to better reflect the 
realities of today's situation.

In his opinion, Maltese society has learnt to distinguish between drug 
traffickers and drug victims. The victims, Dr Gulia said, should not be 
treated the same as drug traffickers even though both are serious crimes 
and those who commit them must be held responsible for their actions and 
should be punished proportionately to their faults.

Dr Gulia said he feels that while drug importers and traffickers should pay 
a higher price, drug victims on the other hand must be provided with every 
opportunity to rehabilitate themselves and to re-integrate themselves in 

Thus the drug laws must reflect this distinction between drug trafficker 
and drug victim not just in the evaluation of a crime but also in the 
penalty linked to it. It is also important, he said, that what applies to 
drug traffickers is not attributed to drug victims as well.

This does not mean, he insisted, that the war against drugs will be in any 
way weakened: on the contrary, it will be made stronger.
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