In the wake of Representative Acarous Moses Gray’s recent call for public officials — especially those within the security sector — to take drug tests as a demonstration of their willingness to fight the nation’s worsening drug trade, some Liberians are challenging him to show his resolve by being the first to go for the test.
On a radio talk show in Monrovia Wednesday, December 11, several callers welcomed the idea proposed by the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) District #8 lawmaker, but threw the ball back in his court by challenging him, in reference to the Bible, to “cast the first stone,” meaning he should be the first to take the very test he had proposed.
Rep. Gray’s contention is that the Government’s international pledge not to allow Liberia to be used as a frontier for the smuggling of drugs must be demonstrated by setting an example; one that demonstrates those who will be fighting the battle against drug traffickers are themselves clean from usage of those substances.
Gray said he observed during his recent visit to the United States that the issue of drug traffickers using West Africa— and Liberia in particular— as gateway for the smuggling of narcotic drugs to the rest of the world was still a serious issue of concern. He explained that the high number of drug seizures that take place coming into the country should serve as warnings that galvanize those who are fighting this menace. He said it was not unreasonable to check that those making the arrests and seizures are sober enough to do their work efficiently.
However, a government official who participated in the program, Ministry of Information Deputy Minister, Isaac Jackson, suggested to lawmaker Gray that he proffers a Bill in the Legislature that would make it mandatory for those who desire to hold public office to sit a drug test as one of the major criteria.
If such legislation is passed, the Deputy Minister asserted, nominees appearing before the Senate for confirmation hearings would be mandated to include a drug free clearance among its requirements.
Rep. Gray remained adamant during the discussion on the seriousness of his call and allayed any notion that he was targeting specific persons. He maintained his willingness to go with any group of top officials, who want to accept his challenge and said he would go through the test with them. “I would be the first,” he added.
Gray is one of the few opposition lawmakers, who are forceful in discussing issues at the Plenary of the House of Representatives Sessions. Though it has not been openly challenged, political pundits believe the lawmaker’s stance is another clever move by him to change the public perception that he may be a drug user himself and wants to clear the air once and for all.