I REFER to your report entitled “Alcohol, drugs law outdated, says CLRC” (Oct 20).
The article contained major errors, which could have been corrected, had the Constitutional and Law Reform Commission (CLRC) been consulted.
The article gives a false impression that the CLRC had completed a study on alcohol and drugs. We have only started a research project on the use and abuse of alcohol and drugs in Papua New Guinea.
The article claims that the CLRC had discovered that the laws governing the use of alcohol and drugs were seriously outdated. This is not true. We have made no such discovery.
Furthermore, the article states that one of the research findings is that there are “many gaps and loopholes in the laws regulating alcohol and drug consumption”. Currently, the CLRC has not made any such findings.
The article states that the research will be limited to the NCD due to limitation of funds. Again this is not true. When dealing with national issues, the CLRC may decide to conduct pilot projects in the NCD, but will invariably cover the entire country through its regional consultation. Moreover, all CLRC programmed projects are covered in the institutional annual budget.
The newspaper’s claim that the reason for starting the research was due the “alarming rise in law and other problems that were mostly due to alcohol and drugs” is unsubstantiated. There is no statistical data to either prove or disapprove this claim.
Finally, we wish to note that the CLRC has initiated a research project on alcohol and drugs in order to understand the issues. The findings may or may not lead to review of alcohol and drug laws.
At this stage we cannot make any conclusive statement either way because the research has yet to be completed.