The Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill 2019 was successfully passed in the Lower House of Parliament late this week.
This new legislation paves the way for the establishment of the legal framework for a National Drug Council (NDC) on the twin island state and the modification to the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Act of 2018.
Speaking in Parliament on Thursday, Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin stated that the bill will govern “drug use and misuse and provide adequate legal support to national security, law enforcement agencies, and rehabilitative bodies which work within the scope of drugs”.
The Bill also ensures that the NDC can effectively carry out its mandate, and aims to address some concerns contained in an Organization of American State (OAS) report.
According to Benjamin, the OAS report highlighted that “in Antigua our National Development Council does not have the needed legal basis to carry out its mandate, and this Bill effectively…addresses and ensures that such comments and recommendations [dealing with] with any deficiencies are corrected as far as Antigua and Barbuda is concerned”.
Benjamin further stated that, upon establishment, the NDC will address all drug related matters from a national perspective.
He said, “Antigua and Barbuda is always concerned to ensure that our government and the policies we implement are aligned with national standards and requirements around the world.”