The cannabis cultivation long story to end in 2017

Speech of Prime Minister Edi Rama at the SOR meeting where the work for the implementation of the National Fight Plan for the Prevention of Cannabis Cultivation and Trafficking was presented:

 

The truth is we are all together in a decisive operation to end the large-scale cannabis cultivation story. All the data are very encouraging so far. Just as it was presented here in a summarized way, we are in front of an overturned situation from the point of view of the map of cultivation.

The basis of the National Plan against Cannabis is a solid one. The implementation point by point of this basis, is a clear example that if we continue with this determination, at this pace and with this detailed daily observation, accompanied by immediate feedback, as it has happened so far, surely at the end of the season, we can say very confidently that we have managed to overthrow the situation and put an end to the large-scale cannabis cultivation story.

First of all, I want to commend the immediate response of the State Police to the emergence of every element, regardless of the level of responsibility within the Police which has resulted passive at best, and involved at worst, by turning a blind eye to the emergence of the phenomenon in all the planted areas last year, which are considered crime sites and where the repetition of the same crime is the direct responsibility of those charged with the patronage of these territories.

In this regard, I want to strongly encourage the General Director of State Police and other leaders to be relentless to any element that is passive, let alone involved in the immediate failure to notify the phenomenon when it comes to surfaces where this element or these elements are required to receive up-to-date information.

This is a struggle that does not end like the story of an illness ends after an operation, but what we are determined to do and will definitely do, is to remove once and for all the stain that this story of many years has left on Albania, and then fight the phenomenon at marginal levels, where it can appear in deep areas and in geographically complex situations.

Today we have a very encouraging database of the controls, the annihilation, and foremost, with regard to prevention which is the very essence of the plan. Likewise, very encouraging this year, is also the fact that perpetrators or the fugitives who have been involved in this criminal activity, have taken responsibility. But, let’s be very clear that this is a battle that needs to be fought every day, every hour and in every corner of Albania.

I am very grateful to Guardia di Finanza who has been and remain a moral and professional guarantee in support of this operation, which in essence is a joint operation with our Italian partners, a joint operation between the two governments. Just as it emerged also from the very fruitful meeting between our Interior Minister Fatmir Xhafaj and Italian counterpart, the opportunity to turn this year’s operation into a success story, is in our hands.

I am convinced that together we will turn it into a success story. Just as, very rightfully, the new government will do its utmost to offer, in collaboration with the Italian government, as we have agreed, other alternatives to people who fall prey to the networks of this organized criminal activity, only to make a living in the rural areas where there were no alternatives to healthy production and fair work.

I am convinced that the continuation of flights and the increase in flight hours this year is an added value, without which the operation is morally vulnerable, and definitely it is vulnerable from a professional point of view. I very much hope that with this spirit of cooperation and with this spirit of determination that has characterized the leaders of the State Police, from the General Director, to the district leaders, this extraordinary operation will continue intensively and with zero tolerance, and in this regard I mean that every structure of the State Police will be intensively involved in this activity.

Congratulations also on the new system that has been set up as a mirror of a thorough transparency, but also as a basis with integrity for accountability at all levels, and for the involvement of other institutions and agencies in this battle, which is not only the battle of the State Police, as we have constantly underlined, but it is a wider battle of the state and of society.

I just want to ask you in a reasonable time, within 10 to 12 days, to have another meeting with up-to-date information to continue to be as coordinated as possible, but also to raise as much we can, public awareness of how this phenomenon is being fought, with high efficiency. And also with the need to have society as much involved in this process as possible, either in terms of information or in terms of the opportunity to contribute by denouncing every case where such a phenomenon occurs, or when, even worse, there is an alleged involvement of the elements of the State Police, no matter how marginal and isolated.

I believe that periodic meetings on this phenomenon are important. It is very important that as it has started, work continues with the same determination to the end, and we are really proud of the State Police and of the cooperation with our strategic Italian partners. 2017 will put an end to this ugly and definitely extremely difficult story, in which the State Police has been attacked in the most undeserved way, beyond any moral boundaries, by actors and factors both of politics and the media.

But on the other hand, let’s say that even this scandalously exaggerated atmosphere has played its own positive role in the accountability of government, state and police structures, and also with regard to the need to prove that the truth is different.

I thank everybody once again!

We will meet in a reasonable time to simply update the data, and if there are any emergency issues or issues to be addressed in this instance.

Success and keep going!