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02.11.2005 General News

Minister appeals to US to build capacity of Narcotics Board

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Accra, Nov. 2, GNA - Interior Minister Papa Owusu-Ankomah on Wednesday appealed to the US Government to help to build the capacity of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) to enable it to address the issue of drug trafficking.

This, he said, was due to the fact that Ghana was fast becoming a transit point for the smuggling of narcotic drugs to the US and Europe, describing the trend as very worrying.

The Minister made the appeal when the new US Ambassador in Ghana, Ms Pamela Bridgewater called on him at his office in Accra to learn about the workings of the Ministry.

Paapa Owusu-Ankomah commended the US Government for its support in the training of Police personnel in the areas of narcotics control and human trafficking but raised the need for increased training and capacity building in order to improve the general output of the Service. He said the Ministry was in the process of submitting a formal request to the US Government on major support areas to improve the capacity of the security agencies.

The Minister told the Ambassador that the Police was handicapped in some key areas, particularly that of criminal investigations and that Ghana could learn from the capability of the US in this area. He suggested that both countries could explore the possibility of linking the Ghana Police Service with the Police Departments of the various cities in the US in order to improve on the Police Service's criminal investigative capability.

The Minister also suggested attaching some Police personnel from the US to the Ghana Police Headquarters to impart their experiences in this field.

Mr Bridgewater said she considered narcotics trafficking a serious issue and indicated the desire to have resources committed to fighting the menace.

She pledged her country's support for continuous training for the Ghana Police, saying: "We'll explore ways to augment what the US is already doing in Ghana."

She said a team from the National Association of Black Police Officers would soon come to Ghana to help to build the capacity of the Police Service.