Home Drugs Grapperhaus for one year: "The huge scale of the drug problem shocked me"

Grapperhaus for one year: "The huge scale of the drug problem shocked me"

by Team Inc.

Ferdinand Grapperhaus about his first year as Minister of Justice and Security and his entrance as an outsider in the inner city of The Hague. (interview)

He was a lawyer in Amsterdam for a professional life and became chairman of the board in the Netherlands of the internationally operating firm Allen & Overy. Employment law is his specialty, and aside from that he liked to unfold a vision of society in opinion pieces. It was less obvious that he was also a member of the CDA and showed that he was available to the top party for a switch to politics.

Now Ferdinand Grapperhaus (59) has been high up in the Hague Tower of Justice and Security for over a year. He is one of the few outsiders in Rutte III, the cabinet that mainly consists of political insiders. His office is homely furnished. Pictures of the children and his deceased wife on the wall, a framed portrait of his girlfriend on the desk. The comic lover in him could not resist putting Tintin paraphernalia everywhere.

He works from a quarter past seven in the morning, when the official car pulls up in Amsterdam-Zuid, until about ten in the evening and earns only a fraction of the salary he received in the legal profession. "That was not a consideration," he says. What is striking: the flamboyant bon vivant with a fedora is often a cautious politician in parliament who is hesitant to formulate. Which often leads to fierce reactions from MPs.

Can you get used to the political manners?

In general, the content is debated. I always listen to arguments and sometimes come to the conclusion that I have to look at something again. Only if someone like Mr Kuzu (Think Member of Parliament, red.) comes to the front and shouts that it is all soft, without giving any arguments, I think: what is that? '

You seem to be more careful. You used to write that Alexander Pechtold was a weather vane and Geert Wilders insanity. We don't notice much of such outspoken ideas now.

'As a minister, I shouldn't go down that path, but be busy with my own portfolio. By the way, those qualifications were taken out of context, they related to shifting a position on a particular subject from A to Z. I still have ideas about that, but now I have a different role. '

Is it also because you have been the fourth minister of justice in eight years?

'I think that's silly. Ivo Opstelten was here for five years. Stef Blok has observed. Only Ard van der Steur was briefly here, but the image that has arisen about him does not do him justice. They still ask about him at European meetings. '

You are defending your budget in Parliament this week. Where are your fingerprints?

'On my approach to the undermining crime behind the production and use of drugs. We have to look in the mirror. Heroin has almost disappeared, but the other drugs from the heaviest category in the Opium Act (cocaine, amphetamine, ecstasy and ghb, red.) we have to be very tough. The crime that goes with it settles among ordinary citizens and affects society. '

Is there a direct link between 'a pill during the weekend should be possible' and the mayor of Haarlem who could not receive Sinterklaas due to threats?

'That is very difficult, but it does not hurt to realize that with that pill you keep an extensive industry afloat that covers the entire world. I think Arjen Lubach is very funny, I like to watch his program, but I disagree with him when he says that we can legalize ecstasy. He thinks that the international treaties should be thrown away, or how did he formulate that again? (Lubach said you can wipe your ass with that, red.Of course it doesn't work that way. We have a really big international problem. We supply all of Australia from here. Isn't it crazy that we have such an enormous industry in this country? '

Should we see this as your War on Drugs?

'Like a War on Criminal Organizations, that's one. And two: cocaine and synthetic drugs must be left the country. '

There are also doubts as to whether the problem is really that big. Is it not inflated to talk about an industry of 19 billion?

Pieter Tops, professor of public administration, says that producers in the Netherlands have a turnover of 600 million. But that represents a street value of 19 billion worldwide, because most of it is exported. Some people say that can't be right. But if you look at the number of drug laboratories that have been dismantled in recent years, the confiscated items, boats and cars, the street value of the cocaine found lots, these are really very large amounts. I knew we had a problem, but I'm shocked at the size. It's huge.

'This form of crime has become hardened and organized in recent years. Think of the OMGs, the outlaw motorcycle gangs, the mocromafia, the structural undermining that is taking place. Neighborhoods in Eindhoven, Tilburg, Arnhem, Rotterdam are infiltrated with this type of crime.

'Do you know what I see? A house that serves as a storehouse for red and green pills, a house riddled with bullets because a criminal drug lord was hiding there, a garage with a drug lab. That grow shop in Enschede last week: exactly the same. It was just a house in a residential area ...

'I'm so concerned about this, because it doesn't affect the people in the Zuidas or the people in Aerdenhout. It really affects the people who are already on the more difficult side of society. '

It is a paradoxical message: on the one hand, we are told that crime is decreasing every year ...

'That is about high impact crimes. Robberies, street robberies, home burglaries… '

But at the same time apparently all kinds of polder Escobars are walking around here ...

'Well, did you follow that trial against Klaas O.? If you read the reports from the hearings, isn't that shocking? That ruthless crime. Take that boy, that good welfare worker, who was accidentally shot on Wittenburg in Amsterdam. Or the brother of a crown witness, who simply had an administrative office. Also that attack with that rocket launcher on the editorial office of Panorama and that van against the facade of The Telegraph I take it very seriously. '

That is also drug crime?

'Shoot a building with journalists with a rocket launcher, wherever Beautiful world is in any case an expression of hardened, unscrupulous crime. And the organizations behind it, I see on working visits, operate from a simple street in a neighborhood where people live who have not been given all the points of happiness in life anyway. '

We also read that people benefit from it and therefore keep their mouths shut.

'No, they usually don't benefit at all! It is a myth that such an organization says to everyone in the neighborhood: take advantage of it. It doesn't work like that. People suffer from it, are intimidated. Life just gets more unpleasant. '

You start a War on Drugs and at the same time the cabinet starts a drug experiment with state weed ...

'That is something else entirely!'

Isn't crime behind a joint? How does that come across internationally?

'We want to investigate whether we can get soft drugs out of crime with legalization. They are a lighter category of drugs in the Opium Act. We are not the only one in the world who say: we should take a good look at that. Canada, a number of US states. We have to do it very carefully, but it is of a completely different order from the synthetic drugs. '

Read the full article Volkskrant.nl (Source)

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