Prime Minister Edi Rama is preparing to announce in the coming days for the third time in three years his great victory over drug cultivation and drug trafficking in Albania. Just like in 2015 and 2016, the announcement of the Prime Minister will be accompanied by large LCD screens projecting the “numbers” from the Guardia di Finanza mission in Tirana.
Prime Minister Rama declared victory for the first time on September 16, 2015 during a bombastic, large-scale ceremony organized in the Palace of Congresses.
Based on “independent reports” of the Guardia di Finanza, the Prime Minister declared that the Albanian police had successfully destroyed 99.2% of the surfaces planted with cannabis in the country.
In order to further inflate the magnitude of this triumph, Prime Minister Rama declared during the ceremony that the results he had made public had been “certified by the two ambassadors directly involved in this war,” US Ambassador Donald Lu and Italian Ambassador Massimo Gaiani. Both were present and spoke during the ceremony in support of the Prime Minister.
During the ceremony, Prime Minister Rama openly praised former Minister of Interior Saimir Tahiri, which had been the target of the opposition’s accusations for links with drug traffic, claims that now appear to be confirmed by the Italian police. Addressing himself to police officers, Prime Minister Rama stated:
What you have done during this year is without a doubt one of the most biggest success stories of this state and the State Police.
You should be proud with the results, the numbers, and incontestable facts you have thrown to the ground an incredible quantity of mud that for months on end has fallen on the State Police, on its directors, and on the Ministry of Interior.
One year later, on October 7, 2016, former General Director of the State Police Haki Çako and officers of the Guardia di Finanza publicly presented the annual report of the Guardia di Finanza for 2016 in Hotel Sheraton. Flanked by the Italian officers, Çako declared that according to the data of the Guardia di Finanza, processed with scientific methods by the University of Naples, showed that the Albanian police had destroyed 99.8% of the cannabis planted in Albania during 2016.
In his weekly Facebook monologue of October 9, Prime Minister Rama praised the accomplishments of the police:
This year there were more surveillance flights than ever and and according to the monitoring report there has been an increase in the response force of the State Police. 99.8% of the parcel were destroyed. I’m not saying that, the Minister of Interior is not saying that. The Guardia di Finanza, a team globally recognized for its professionalism and integrity in the war against the most sophisticated crime reports this number. It won this war, and the number say that the State Police won it this year more convincingly than ever before. Neither the traffickers, nor the political garbage bins won.
Former Minister of Interior Saimir Tahiri wrote on Facebook:
For those who have eyes and ears, below you can find the official data from the Guardia di Finanza and the State Police […]:
[…] 5. In 2016 the police destroys 99.8% of the cultivated area. In 2012 it destroyed 0% and in 2013 7.5%. Who is the narcotrafficker?!?! Which is the government linked with drug gangs?!?!
After this public presentation, the State Police started a propaganda campaign based on these numbers, using on its posters the logo of the Guardia di Finanza and the Italian Ministry of Justice.
Exit later discovered that there never such a report drafted by the Guardia di Finanza. After Minister Tahiri was fired by Prime Minister Rama, the ministry now led by Minister of Interior Xhafaj confirmed such a report never existed.
In any case, what happened after these enormous “victories” is clear for all to see: hundreds and thousands kilograms of marijuana captured by the Italian police and their colleagues in Greece and Albania.
If the trend from 2014 continues, the Guardia di Finanza’s “numbers” will state that in 2017 100% of the marijuana on the Albanian territory has been destroyed!