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05.05.2008 General News

War on drugs - US to the rescue

By Daily Graphic
War on drugs -  US to the rescue
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The United States (US) is to set up a special unit at its embassy in Accra to collaborate with narcotic control agencies in Ghana to help fight the drug trafficking menace in the country.

To be known as the Drug Enforcement Administration, the office will work to stop international drug barons from using Ghana as one of their key transit points for drug trafficking.

The outgoing US Ambassador to Ghana, Mrs Pamela Bridgewater, announced this when she paid a courtesy call on the Managing Director of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Mr Ibrahim Awal, in Accra last Friday.

She said the office, to be opened in a. few months' time, would be fully equipped with the necessary resources and manned by highly trained personnel in narcotics control to work with their Ghanaian counterparts to find a lasting solution to the problem.

She said hitherto, operatives from a similar office in Nigeria were occasionally sent down to Ghana to assist, but "we have decided to open an office exclusively in Ghana to work directly here to fight the drug trafficking problem".

Mrs Bridgewater said the US had several experiences with regard to drug trafficking and pledged the commitment of that government to ensure that Ghana's situation did not get worse.

The outgoing Ambassador commended the media for consolidating the democratic process in the country.

She urged the media to continue to play their role as watchdogs with accurate reports on issues at all times.

Mrs Bridgewater praised the Daily Graphic, the flagship newspaper of the company and leader in the industry, as well as its sister papers, for what she described as the enormous support in terms of coverage that the US Embassy in Accra had received and expressed the hope that the same collaboration would exist between the papers and her successor.

She urged the company to use its position in the media landscape to thrther promote freedom of speech and protect the human rights of the citizenry.

She also used the occasion to propose a toast to congratulate Mr Awal on his first year as the Managing Director of the company.

Mrs Bridgewater, who has served in the US Foreign Service for 27 years, wished Mr Awal well in all his endeavours and expressed the hope that the Daily Graphic would continue to playa major role in the country's democratic process.

Mr Awal mentioned the support the US government had given Ghana to grow its economy and the democratic processes.

He mentioned, for instance, the Millennium Challenge Account, from which Ghana was benefiting more than $540 million.

Mr Awal pledged the commitment of the Daily Graphic and its sister papers to provide the right reportage that would further boost democratic principles, not only in the country but in the sub-region.

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