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Apr 28, 2022

Did the Absence of CITES Law Compound Issue Involving Suspended Officer?

Jose Abelardo Mai

According to Minister Mai, the problem was never BAHA, as it is the authorized body to issue phytosanitary certificates in the country.  And that the suspended officer, who wasn’t even on site, was handing down instructions to a junior officer at the border. But did the absence of CITES (sight-tees) law compound issue involving the suspended officer?  Minister Mai says that a discussion was held during cabinet to thrash that out, but that the passage of CITES into law will iron out the confusion. For context: CITES is a multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals from poachers. But since it has not been put into law, there is no regulatory body that issues this permit and BAHA instead issues phytosanitary certificates.


Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture, Food Security & Enterprise

“You know how long we sign unto CITES, do you know? 1978, I understand. So you know what should be done? Pass the damn law. It is in process. It is at committee level right now. And this is where today; BAHA and Forestry are meeting to iron this out. We cannot have this happening again. We don’t have a law, but imagine, you are bringing a thousand plants and then forestry tells you I will take away those plants from you and burn it because you don’t have a CITES permit. Who gives a CITES permit? There is no CITES permit. And then you say I will take you to court again. You will lose that case, you are exposing yourself. The best thing to do is to sit together, harmonize this problem and get the law into place and we act.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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