10 Jun 2004

Fiji drug manufacture common knowledge

9:10 am on 10 June 2004

Fiji pharmacists say it was common knowledge that illicit drugs were being made in the country but no one knew how or by whom.

The comments made on Fiji TV, come after the drug bust in and around Suva yesterday.

The Fiji Pharmacists Association says they were aware that chemicals needed for illicit drug manufacture were coming into the country.

Four foreign nationals and three Fiji citizens have been arrested, after raids on a laboratory which police say had enough chemicals to manufacture a tonne of methamphetamines, worth 600-million US dollars..

The police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, says the operation is a frightening example of trans-national organised crime elements using Fiji as a staging post.

He's called for the urgent passing of the Illicit Drug Control legislation which went before parliament yesterday.

But the chairman of the parliamentary committee on social services, Colonel Jonetani Kaukeimoce, says the bill seems to focus on trans-national and trans-border crime, and doesn't sufficiently address the small scale use of marijuana.