Pubdate: Wed, 30 Jan 2008
Source: National, The (New Guinea)
Copyright: 2008, The National
Author: Ennio Kuble


TWO statutory organisations, the National Narcotics Bureau (NNB) and 
the Censorship Office-have not been adequately funded, Community 
Development Minister Dame Carol Kidu said.

She said that both organisations deal with extremely important social 
development issues and problems.

She said a temporary arrangement was made to effect some cost neutral 
structural changes, which she believed would be beneficial to both 
the NNB and CO.

Dame Carol said the National Executive Council (NEC) in a decision 
supported the recommendation for a cost neutral restructure of both 

"The move was initially greeted with enthusiasm but there now seems 
to be some bureaucratic resistance," she added without disclosing the details.

"The aim of the restructure would be to move the awareness and 
rehabilitation aspects of drugs to come under my ministry and to 
strengthen the censorship office and for the NNB to return to the 
Police Department to focus on the criminal and policing aspect of 
drugs," she said.

With the bureaucratic resistance as outlined by Dame Carol, Community 
Development secretary's office refused any comments while the police 
commissioner's office is yet to respond.

The NNB was a legal body to control and contain illicit drug use with 
its core functions in education and awareness, rehabilitation, 
counselling and treatment, research, data monitoring and evaluation, 
and operation and inspection delegated to four divisons.

"Since August 2004 the NNB's operations had effectively ceased as 
there had been no operational grants provided, with the exception of 
salaries," Dame Carol said.

"Moreover, the last board was appointed in 2003 and expired in 2006 
after its three-year term lapsed.

"Since then, no new board had been appointed," She said.

Dame Carol said NNB, just like the Censorship Officer were being 
obstructed by the Government from performing its duties and 
responding effectively to major challenges within the wider social, 
economic and technological environment.

"The effective cessation of NNB meant that the limited education and 
preventative campaigns prior to 2004 had largely collapsed and the 
NNB itself requires major revitalisation," she added.

However, after a National Executive Council decision, the NNB 
reopened its doors after being closed from August 2004 to July 2007 
(despite fortnightly staff payments being made).

Since 2004, Dame Carol said almost 80% of NNB's capital assets 
disappeared leaving only a handful of chairs, tables, four filing 
cabinets, one irreparable car and one car that was in the workshop 
pending service payments.

She said out of the 20 schools in Port Moresby that were part of the 
drug abuse and awareness programmes in 2004, only two had sustained 
50% of the programmes introduced in the initial stages.

Dame Carol said illicit drugs like marijuana was effectively used by 
young people and also remained a medium of exchange for gun trading.

She said in the middle of last year tentative steps were taken by the 
Government to give a boost to NNB.
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart