The Lebanese National Bloc Party strongly criticized the general amnesty proposal and its exceptions, stating that it is a way for the government and its “protected parties” to absolve itself from past and future transgressions. The Bloc said that the responsibility of rising crime rates lies with the ministers who have neglected “remote areas” and who have escalated sectarian speech, aligned with regional axes, and covered “big criminals”.
In a statement, the Bloc stressed the fact that in order to solve a national issue there needs to be an investigation as to the causes of the issue in order not to have it repeated as well as dealing with its circumstances; this is something the current parties in power are not doing. There are over 60,000 wanted persons and many imprisoned for murder, terrorism and drug dealing, which begs the question as to the causes. No one is born a killer, a drug trafficker, or a terrorist, and the responsibility for these big numbers of criminals lies with the sectarian parties for the following four reasons:
First: Covering up for the crimes of the “big criminals” for political reasons.
Second: The adoption of excessive sectarian rhetoric by all parties.
Third: Ministers ignoring the economic development and job creation in remote areas; a known fact for the spread of crime.
Fourth: It is unacceptable to include those who have injured a military or civilian person in the general amnesty.
The Bloc asserted that the sectarian parties are at fault and responsible for past mistakes, as for future mistakes:
First: Not refraining from sectarian rhetoric and regional axes alignments (the main reason for sectarian incitement).
Second: Not having a real economic plan, or at least incentives to develop remote areas economically and socially. It would have been better to use the $625 budget earmarked for the Bisri Dam to this end.
Third: Parliament is moving to legalize the cultivation of Cannabis to sell to pharmaceutical companies. It is well known that in this case the main beneficiaries are major merchants; therefore it is necessary to create incentives for farmers such as leasing state lands at symbolic prices, and granting tax exemptions for a period of time for each investor intending to set up a plant to convert cannabis into a pharmaceutical drug in remote areas. In this way, farmers can sell directly to the manufacturer and this will create job opportunities and allow Lebanon to import high quality value-added materials.
Fourth: In the fifth article of the second paragraph of the general amnesty draft proposal, the following is stated: “An exception from amnesty is the crime of infringement on public or private property or property belonging to the state or municipalities ... and on the movable and immovable property of private individuals and legal persons.” Not mentioning individual “funds” simply means that those who infringed on people’s evaporated deposits will be included in the amnesty.
The Bloc concluded its statement by noting that those who proposed this project, as well as those who will support it without first looking at the fundamental roots of the problem are taking a populist stand, the same is true for those who will reject the proposal without providing a logical alternative to solve such a big national issue.