by Alan Ah Mu
APIA: THURSDAY 1 AUGUST 2013: A new narcotics laboratory can only test for marijuana.
“But our Government’s intention is that in the near future, this laboratory will be equipped to test for other hard narcotics such as ‘methamphetamine,’ more commonly known as ‘P’ or ‘ice,’” said Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, who opened the lab late afternoon yesterday.
The Scientific research Organisation of Samoa (SROS) runs the lab and serves as an independent and reliable support service to Police and Courts in narcotic cases.
Government will this financial year fund SROS to buy a gas chromatography and a mass spectrometry to identify and quantify hard narcotics, Tuilaepa said.
Two SROS scientists are to be trained overseas in the testing of marijuana.
One of the key components in the successful prosecution of narcotic cases is having a local lab to test narcotic exhibits confiscated by Police, the Prime Minister said.
He acknowledged with appreciation the work and continuing support of the University of the South Pacific, Alafua Campus, which was home to the previous narcotics lab from 2008.
“We acknowledge the work by the technical staff of the university, with special mention of the work carried out by Mr. Falaniko Amosa, lecturer and the authorised analyst of the narcotics laboratory at Alafua.”
Australia funded the new lab through the Samoa Law and Justice Sector.
Narcotic samples that needed to be tested overseas cost them a lot of money, about $800 per shipment, said Commissioner of Police, Lilomaiava Fou Taialo.
“New Zealand dollars,” the Commissioner added.
He said the new lab will charge Police a fee that won’t be near that expensive.
“Time is another thing,” he said.
The new lab will save the court much time spent waiting for results of tests from overseas, he said.