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Drugs Worth Rs 13.7 Billion Seized Since 2015 Says PM Jugnauth

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The worth of dangerous drugs seized since 2015 is Rs 13.7 billion. This has resulted in nearly 20,000 arrests. These figures have been revealed by Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth on Monday 6 February. Pravind Jugnauth was speaking at the inauguration of a ‘Port Surveillance Command Centre’ and the launch of a ‘Regional Training on Undercover and Surveillance Techniques’ in Port Louis.

The Port Surveillance Command Centre of the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA),  was set up with the support of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), to the tune of some Rs. 20 million.

Other eminent personalities including the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Dr Renganaden Padayachy, and the Chargé d’Affaires to the United States of America Embassy in Mauritius and the Seychelles, Mr Satrajit Sardar were present on the occasion.

PM at inauguration of Port Surveillance Command Centre

Prime Minister Jugnauth observe that Mauritius and nearby Islands are vulnerable to drug trafficking due to their closeness to major heroin trafficking routes and regional cocaine and Methamphetamine routes, and the response to this challenge is to build capacity, increase collaboration and also exchange information with each other. A regional training on Undercover and Surveillance Techniques being held in collaboration with the US Drug Enforcement Administration was concurrently launched.

Prime Minister Jugnauth thus underlined the importance of the Training course, which he said will strengthen the technical capacity of law enforcement officers in the region for collection, analysis and dissemination of intelligence in relation to drug trafficking and consequently create greater synergy among islands to combat drug trafficking.

As regards the Port Surveillance Command Centre, Mr Jugnauth underlined that the Station equipped with state-of-the-art technology for the monitoring of strategic locations on the port on a real time basis, benefited from the support of the SADC and necessitated an investment of more than Rs 20 million.

Pravind Jugnauth and Sudhamo Lal
Pravind Jugnauth and Sudhamo Lal

Speaking about the new series of measures in line with this mission, Prime Minister Jugnauth announced that special equipment, an Advanced Light Helicopter, high patrol vessels and vehicles will be acquired to enhance effectiveness in anti-drug missions. Other projects in the pipeline include the installation of two body scanners in the Eastern High Security Prison and Grand River North West prison and the adoption of e-passports and e-gates to enhance border security.

As for Mr Satrajit Sardar, he stated that the regional effort to work alongside Mauritius and other countries is just one sign of the investment commitment that the US is making along with the support of its African partners, to implement and sustain gains in security. He pointed out that the US has prioritised its strong relationship with the Indian Ocean to address the shared challenge of maintaining a safe and secure Indian Ocean region.

The Director General of the MRA, Mr Sudhamo Lal, on his part, underlined the unflinching commitment of the Government in the fight against drugs and transnational organised crimes.  In this endeavour, he added, the Government is fully supporting the MRA in its missions to fight against drug trafficking through the provision of state-of-the-art technology, modern tools, and equipment, which are bearing its fruits. He highlighted that the MRA is benefiting from the good relations that Mauritius fosters with its international partners as its officers are being empowered with new knowledge and skills through such training initiatives.

Port Surveillance Command Centre
Port Surveillance Command Centre

Port Surveillance Command Centre

The Port Surveillance Command Centre, consists of three components, namely:

  • A CCTV control room for live viewing of images from cameras in the port areas, cameras at different freight stations and MRA cameras at examination base and port exits;
  • Scanning room where live images from container scanners are received for final clearance by supervising officers; and,
  • Control room for simultaneous monitoring of images through body-worn camera.
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