A training course on narcotics investigations aiming at enhancing the skills, competencies and knowledge of law enforcement officers in the combat against drug trafficking, kicked off on Wednesday at the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA), in Port-Louis.
The ten-day training course being held at the MRA Training Academy in Mer Rouge, is an initiative of the MRA in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade and the United States (US) Embassy in Mauritius. Twenty Customs Officers, eleven Police Officers and one Fisheries Officer are participating in the training which is being conducted by experts from the Drug Enforcement Agency of USA.
In her address, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mrs U. Dwarka- Canabady, underlined that Mauritius is indeed affected by illicit use and trade of narcotic drugs and added that to be able to better address the issue, it should be viewed from an international perspective. It is imperative to keep track of issues related to narcotics globally so as to gain a better insight and curb the scourge prevailing in the society, she said.
The holding of the training course by US experts will, according to Mrs Dwarka-Canabady, be highly valuable to local officers in the combat against drugs as they will benefit from the much needed foreign expertise, up-to-date knowledge and skills. She further listed out other initiatives that are being taken by Government to address the drug issue, such as the setting up of a National Plan of Action and reinforcing maritime security.
Mrs Dwarka-Canabady also expressed gratitude to the US embassy and the EU for their contribution in helping Mauritius enhance its cross border trade and security. She emphasised that an effective and coherent cooperation in the region is a prerequisite to tackle cross border illicit activities in the vast maritime territory of the country.
As for the Director General of the MRA, Mr Sudhamo Lal, he underlined that the MRA is committed to combat fraud in all its forms and to this end capacity building, review and update of resources and legislations are essential. On that score, he underpinned the necessity of the development of core skills and competencies in surveillance, investigations, intelligence gathering and interventions to overcome threats posed by new challenges such as drug trafficking and money laundering.
Mr Lal also pointed out that the Customs Department which is the lead agency responsible for border control has launched the ‘STOP DRUGS’ initiative, aiming at providing the public with a medium to communicate any information regarding drug trafficking.