Opinions Tue, 12 Sep 2006

Cocaine, Ghana and “man’s best friend.”

Canine (or K-9) units are one of the most effective means in the war against illicit and dangerous drugs, such as cocaine. With the help of these trained dogs, law enforcement agencies (including customs and border patrol departments) at most ports of entry have been able to sniffed out thousands of kilograms of narcotics that are hidden deep in packages and even in vehicle tires. So why don’t we have K-9 unit helping Ghana’s law enforcement agencies at our ports of entry?

The revelations at the Georgina Wood Commission investigating the recent cocaine crisis in Ghana seems to suggest the Ghana has become one of the lucrative routes in the narcotics trade. The health and economic costs, plus the bad rap it gives us, cannot be overstated. As we seek to promote a stable and enabling economic environment for both domestic and foreign investment, it is imperative that we nip this problem in its bud. Given our scant resources, this means we have to search for cheap but very effective means of detecting illicit drugs that flow in and out of the country. We can no longer rely on human staff at the ports to search through every suitcase and cargo box. Even if we were able to hire loads of people to do such searches, they will still miss the very well hidden contrabands. Dogs provide a good solution, and there are thousands of dogs in Ghana that can do this job for a fraction of the cost of human staff.

Most breeds, if well trained, will be able to search for drugs in many bags at a remarkable speed and efficiency. K-9 units yield the highest amount of drug seizures per unit cost. So why not adopt this method? In fact, since cocaine dealers are very much aware of the efficacy of dogs in the war against illicit and dangerous drugs, we might even see a precipitous drop in the amount that are shipped in and out of the country if we add “man’s best friend” to our law enforcement agency. Our law enforcement agency need to be pro-active. Their inability to act and train dogs to help out will only reinforce the public’s belief that the cocaine crisis goes well beyond the five suspected dealers currently in custody.

Edward Kutsoati

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Kutsoati, Edward