“Cape Verde has good laws but they’re not enforced,” says President 19 March 2012
At the international forum on public safety currently taking place in Praia, President Jorge Carlos Fonseca affirmed that the solution to the country’s current problems “is not making laws and more laws,” because “Cape Verde, generally speaking, has good laws.” There is, however, “a lack of capacity for their enforcement,” according to the head of state – a shortcoming to which Minister of Internal Administration Marisa Morais also admitted.
In opening the Praia’s second International Forum on Public Safety, the theme of which is “residents and urban security,” this Monday morning, the head of state presented a number of ideas of what can be done to improve safety and security in Cape Verde. He also pointed out a number of deficiencies at the forum, which is being organized by the Praia municipal chamber and attended by representatives of the security sectors of France, the Netherlands, Portugal and Brazil.
“I must confess that I do not align with the idea, which seems to be in fashion, of crucifying our laws to explain out problems. It’s very simple to call for more laws, as if passing them were a magic wand able to immediately and efficiently solve all of our problems. This is the quickest path to a disarticulated normative system that does not work because it is unenforceable – a system in which there is an excess of laws, contradictory and unnecessary laws, which presents those charged with enforcing them with many more difficulties,” said Jorge Carlos Fonseca.
The head of state continued by saying that “Cape Verde, generally speaking, has good laws, but everyone acknowledges that there is often a lack of effective capacity or constructive and interpretative patience for their enforcement.”
On the list of somewhat seldom practiced “good laws” is that prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages to minors, said Fonseca, who stressed that “Cape Verde is, essentially, in harmony with the world in terms of its normative framework.”
“We have the tendency to blindly believe in the strength and virtues of laws and to do little to encourage their effective application. We think that the problem has been resolved because the law has been passed and published. We should acknowledge that there is a lack of capacity to enforce the laws we pass. This, in my opinion, is one of our greatest problems,” stressed Jorge Carlos Fonseca.
Interior minister agrees, but says time is need to “absorb”
Minister of Internal Administration Marisa Morais admitted the problem to A Semana Online, saying that “there is indeed a need for greater quality and effectiveness in the application of the law.” Even so, Morais said that “all laws require a moment of absorption on the part of those applying them, a process that is essential in the realm of technical and legal solutions.”
The cabinet minister also stressed that “the benefit of the presumption of innocence, referred to by the President of the Republic, is an essential component of the democratic rule of law, and benefits all citizens, without exception.”
“The person presumed innocent isn’t just the suspect of white collar crimes. It’s all of us, all and any citizen, no matter what their age, profession or social position,” she added.
President Fonseca, meanwhile, also highlighted the fact that lack of security “scares away economic investors and tourists, thus jeopardizing the country’s economic development,” in the same way that “the lack of public illumination encourages less wholesome acts and makes it harder for police to carry out their activities.”