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By Bonnie Laxton-Blinkhorn

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (September 9, 1999 – Cook Islands News)---Cook Islands police say they haven't seen the list of drug importers and distributors in the country which Deputy Prime Minister Norman George is reported to have shown to an overseas newspaper.

Recent reports in CI News have provided details about DPM Norman George's self-declared war against local drug traffickers and distributors.

Now the latest edition of the Auckland-based Cook Islands Star claims to have been given by the DPM the names of local business people involved in importing and distributing drugs here.

However, Cook Islands Police Commissioner Tevai Matapo is unaware of the DPM's list and said he has not received a copy of it, or been informed of any of the names on the list.

Commissioner Matapo said because they are unaware of Norman George's list, it is impossible to say what the implications of the DPM withholding the names are.

"Somewhere along the line the DPM must have had justification for his comments. If he has the information it is up to him to decide what to do with it. Until the police receive the information this matter is between him, the public and the people he is directing his comments to," said the Commissioner.

Speaking generally on behalf of local business people, Cook Islands' Chamber of Commerce President Don Beer, Jr. said if the DPM has further information on the drug trade here, he should divulge that information to police forthwith.

According to Commissioner Matapo, what the DPM says has no bearing on how the police conduct their investigations. He said the DPM's allegations will not effect the prioritization of drugs on the police agenda.

For additional reports from the Cook Islands News Online, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Cook Islands New Online.


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