Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group
The Honourable Mr. Justice Randall Worrell
We are in full support of High Court Judge Randall Worrell’s call to decriminalize marijuana for personal purposes. We are also in full support of his position that our court system is clogged up with old cases involving marijuana charges. We do not condone drug abuse in any form but we believe that if cigarettes can be legally sold, there should be sales of marijuana as well. At least we know that cigarettes destroy millions of lives annually and place tremendous pressure on health services.
We hope that a more progressive approach is used in assisting those afflicted with the addiction of marijuana. We strongly believe that prison should be used for the punishment and rehabilitation of hardened criminals and not those who for one reason or another find themselves addicts. We know that many kids today are addicted to their parents’ prescription drugs and there are those amongst us who are addicted to medication. Certainly a modern judicial system cannot continue to waste time, resources and prison space on what are unfortunate human maladies. Our kids today are under constant pressure and sometimes they fall victims to habits that cannot be cured by excessive floggings or imprisonment.
We are equally concerned about the use of alcohol by our very young citizens and find it very hypocritical, that we are content with turning a blind eye to the heavy intake of alcohol in our communities. Alcohol is also a drug and its addiction is widespread. We are also concerned about the role the heavy use of alcohol plays in instances of domestic abuse , the financial ruin of many families and non –productivity in the work place. If we intend to seriously tackle addiction, we must be prepared to do so at all level.
Submitted by Charles Knighton
The August 26 article “Drug courts or drug treatment centers” hopefully signals the tectonic plates of the drug debate are shifting. Perhaps the appetite for spending millions and incarcerating thousands, in the service of pieties immune to rational analysis, is not limitless after all. Exhaustion is finally setting in with the enormous human and fiscal costs of attempting to eradicate the ineradicable. People have always used intoxicants, and always will, in ways ancient and new. The Bible tells us that no sooner had Noah planted a vineyard than “he drank of the wine, and was drunken.” We seem to be exiting the era when a focus on the harmful effects of illegal drugs excludes all consideration of the harmful effects of their hard-fisted prohibitions. The debate is becoming less susceptible to cheap rhetorical bullying.
Though tantamount to crying out in the wilderness, one final thought. In our censorious public discussions about substance abuse, drinking often gets a pass. But alcohol abuse kills far more people than powders, tablets, and vials. According to a recent survey, about 40 percent of the adult population of Barbados is either addicted to alcohol or binge drinks dangerously. Booze seeds and squires a broad range of diseases, from cirrhosis to various forms of cancer, and contributes to many deaths from shootings, stabbings, falls and drunk driving. Just as with other classes of drugs, prohibition would prove ineffective, but if we’re going to discuss the drug problem in Barbados with any honesty, then we shouldn’t edit drinking out of the picture.
Once again the issue of drugs and the way we treat convicted drug dealers has returned to the public agenda. And, as in the original discussion, the issue has moved from the justification swung from the kind of justice meted out to offenders to the ‘humanity’ of Barbadian society and its moral compass.
But, our Christian nature aside, it is an unnecessary economic burden on taxpayers to adopt a so-called war on drugs when some of the biggest players are easily forgiven and then, worse, incentivised by being allowed to stay on in Barbados with a right of residence and, in due course, a right to citizenship. In so doing, government is recognising for the first time in our history that we no longer believe in the rule of law, but rule by lawyers and the most vocal of us. The treatment of these offenders must, however, be linked to the wider policy objective of combating drug abuse and dealing and the call for a drugs court.
First, there is no need for a specialist drugs court as is proposed. What is needed is a sentencing policy to prohibit magistrates and judges from abusing the custodial system by remanding and sentencing young drug users to lengthy terms in prison for the possessions of small amounts of drugs, usually cannabis. Rather, an effective drug policy should revolve around treating drug use and addiction in the first instance as medical and psychiatric problems, but offenders/victims should first have to cooperate fully with the authorities by giving details of suppliers, etc., before being treated with leniency.
Submitted by Pachamama
Tony Bennett suggests legalize drugs, click to read about it - (MARK J. TERRILL / AP Photo)
Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Amy Winestone, Jean-Michel Basquait, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on – again. A few days ago Whitney Houston joined a Glorious Band of the most exceptional artists this world has known. There are many factors that seem to militate against the most talented human beings who give meaning to the aesthetics as philosophy. These could include certain self destructive elements, a seeming inability to deal with the lavish adoration of millions of fans globally, a vicious entertainment management culture constructed on predation, a drive to go to a certain place to find that elusive and perpetual genius and a perception that we make unreasonable demands of our most talented citizens. In fact, this culture of death is not recent. It goes back for centuries. What is a growing factor however is the role played by the pharmaceutical industrial complex. In fact, in the United States big pharma is directly responsible for 150,000 deaths every year and a total of 1 million people injured by so-called ‘legal’ drugs. In this article we will argue that we are long past the stage of asking for the decriminalization of all plants. We consider that no human being or institution has the authority to criminalize nature and that all of mother earth is our collective birthright. What we will demand from all Governments, everywhere, is the immediate and total LEGALISATION of all plants – without apology.
Excerpts from the book “Cocaine and Heroin Trafficking in The Caribbean – The Case of Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and Guyana”, by Darius Figueira. This book is available at the UWI Bookshop and online on Amazon.com.
“The dominant race based illicit drug transhipping organisations/race groupings are:
The Syrian/Lebanese grouping. This grouping consists of crime families descended from Syrian and Lebanese immigrants to Trinbago and generations since born in Trinbago. ..The Syrian/Lebanese organisation has created a division of labour in which their illicit drug transhipping is masked by the legitimate front businesses and drug money laundering operations that pass for legitimate businesses.
The much publicized Myrie Affair occurred in April this year. By all accounts Barbados came out of the affair with a bloody nose if we are to judge by the comments made by all and sundry. Despite the vitriol spouted from both sides Barbadians, Jamaicans and onlookers are none the wiser what actually happened to Shanique Myrie when she attempted to cross the border of Barbados. She alleges that she was inappropriately searched by local officials, a charge which was denied. In the absence of substantive evidence who does one believe?
What was evident from the episode is that the Jamaican media and political directorate were in cahoots to ensure Jamaican Myrie’s story was propagated and propagandized. To be expected we had the so-called regionalists like Peter Wickham, Rickey Singh, David Commissiong et al who abandoned the need to be patriotic and gleefully jumped across to the other side of the debate.
BU does not intend to paper over any indiscretions made by Barbadian agencies if any did occur at all in the Myrie incident. Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart’s offer for Myrie to return to Barbados to facilitate meaningful investigation remains unaccepted after several months. The haste with which Jamaicans and others across the region used the opportunity to exposed a latent dislike for Barbados cannot be ignored. Some in local media and elsewhere would want Barbadians to ignore the obvious and not rock the CSME boat. It always has to be Barbados to turn the other cheek!
Posted in Barbados, Barbados News, Barbados Police Force, Caribbean News, Immigration, Jamaica, Law,Crime
Tagged CSME, Drugs, Jamaican Drug Mules, Shanique Myrie
Submitted by Len Richmond
CANNABIS CULTURE – What if Cannabis Cured Cancer? CC presents an interview with Len Richmond, director of a new documentary film about how science is showing that compounds in cannabis attack cancer while protecting healthier cells.
It is one thing to kill a cancer cell, but the real question wracking science’s collective brain is: can you survive the treatment?
This is the central concern regarding how we approach cancer, the plague of modern times. Len Richmond’s documentary What if Cannabis Cured Cancer, narrated by Emmy award-winning actor Peter Coyote, is a well-researched account of the chemical benefits of the cannabis plant. Featuring interviews with a multitude of doctors and researchers across the world, the film explains how certain compounds in cannabis, including THC, attack only cancer cells while actually protecting healthier ones. And here is the real kicker: with incredible results! However, its healing effects are not limited to just cancer. Cannabis contains compounds that work holistically with the entire human body on such conditions as epilepsy, bipolar disorder, glaucoma, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, neuropathic pain, depression, leukemia, and more.
The documentary also outlines the misinformation campaign by both government and media as to the ill effects of cannabis on users. For instance, it is an eyebrow-raising revelation that not a single recorded death has ever been attributed to cannabis, while it remains a Schedule I drug – along with heroin and meth – under the Controlled Substances Act.
But it’s not just the plant that’s having a tough time in the world. Len Richmond has tried earnestly to get the medical community to be involved in the amazing amount of research he’s uncovered in his film:
A recent study out of the United kingdom concludes ‘Alcohol is more dangerous than illegal drugs like heroin, ecstasy and crack cocaine, according to a new study.’ From limited reports the study rated alcohol the most dangerous substance ‘based on the overall dangers to the individual and society as a whole’. The study was led by Professor David Nutt, the former government drugs adviser who was sacked for criticising the then Labour government’s decision to upgrade cannabis from class C to class B.
What is evident to BU, the matter of how drugs are classified and managed is based on economic structures embedded in so-called developed societies. Those who would dare to buck the system will have to negotiate the weight of the establishment.
Submitted by a concerned person
This is a response to the article on the subject of free medication. According to the Minister of Health only permanent residents and citizens of Barbados are entitled to free meds from the drug service.
What I would like to know is why people domiciled in Barbados with immigrant status are being denied free diabetic and hypertensive meds by the pharmacies of Barbados?
These people are paying NIS like everyone else. Many of us have been living in Barbados for over 20 years with immigrant status, we even voted for the present government and we are being denied our rights. We are not illegal immigrants nor do we have work permits. Some of us have businesses and are creating jobs for many people. We pay all taxes like everyone else so why are we being denied the right to free meds? We are not benefiting from paying these taxes so why pay them?
Many Bajans marrying Guyanese and Vincentians and their spouses are granted permanent residence within 2 yrs, then these spouses getting all the benefits and they aren’t paying no taxes yet they reaping the sweets. They are living here 2 yrs and getting free meds while I and many others who have been living here 20 plus years and paying taxes are being told by pharmacists that we have to pay for meds? Tell me how is that fair? I do not have a work permit but I have to pay for my meds, why?
If I had the right to vote for 20 years why should I not have the right to free healthcare? Unless of course you want to take away my right to vote too because I only have immigrant status?
In the wake of the Campus Trendz tragedy Barbadians grabbed a little consolation in response to the news the Royal Barbados Police Force was able to apprehend two males for the crime. To be expected Commissioner Darwin Dottin held a press conference in the full glare of local/global media to communicate the news. There was much back slapping and congratulations extended to all those who participated in the capture. BU joins with all Barbadians in extending congratulations to the Commissioner and his team as well.
Despite the success of the police force in quickly apprehending the Campus Trendz suspects, BU has some concerns. Commissioner Dottin congratulated Barbadians at their show of civic mindedness measured by the number of leads which were communicated to the police hotlines. We are of the view the reason why Barbadians communicated in the way they did had more to do with the heinous nature of the crime which sparked a public outrage. Believe it or not there is an anti-police sentiment which is growing in Barbados, especially among the younger demographic, our ‘leaders’ of tomorrow. It should be of grave concern to the police force and by extension all Barbadians the gravemen of the situation.
Submitted by Yardbroom
Relatives carry the coffin of Edelmiro Cavazos, mayor of the tourist town of Santiago, during a public homage there last month. Mexican security forces found the body of the slain mayor near Mexico's richest city of Monterrey days after he was abducted by gunmen. (Tomas Bravo / Reuters / August 18, 2010)
More than 28,000 people have been murdered in Mexico, since President Felipe Calderon began to wage war, using the Mexican military and Mexican federal police against drug cartels which started in 2006. The numbers seem too large to grasp in a non-military to military context, but broken down and closely examined with the faces of men, women and children behind the numbers, and the circumstances of their demise…bellows a warning of what some seek.
A mere 2649 miles (approx) lies Ciudad de Mexico from Barbados, some would venture to suggest it is in our backyard, but I think not. Why would I bat away such a suggestion.
Some 72 Central and South American illegal immigrants were massacred on a ranch some 100 miles south of Brownsville, Texas border. It was the third time, according to an AP report that Mexican authorities had discovered “large masses of corpses”. In May, 55 bodies in an abandoned mine in Taxco, a tourist town.
In July the discovery of 51 corpses in a field near a trash dump of Monterrey. On August 24 the APF reported a mini-massacre, at least 19 bodies discovered in a mine in the outskirts of Pachuca. About two weeks ago gunmen slaughtered 17 people at a party in the northern Mexican city of Torreon. Note 19 murdered is relegated to almost a foot-note, “a mini-massacre”.
The drug Avandia which is a Type II diabetes drug is raising concerns in medical quarters in the United Kingdom and the USA – see report. The drug is under review across Europe having been linked to a raised risk of heart attacks and heart failure. The respected UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) has recommended suspension of the drug but it alarmingly remains available to the public in the United Kingdom. To be expected the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline who manufacturers Avandia insists the drug is safe if properly monitored, as its research programme has shown it to be ‘safe and effective when it is prescribed appropriately. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is expected to announce later this month whether Avandia should be restricted, or withdrawn completely. In the USA similar concerns are being voiced.
Although the drug is not widely stocked by pharmacies in Barbados there is limited use and we hope the health authorities are following the Avandia story.
Alice Smeets for The New York Times Many of the customers for legal drugs in Maastricht, the Netherlands, are young people, and most of them are foreigners - NYT
Two popular reasons are usually given to support decriminalizing the possession of the ‘softer drugs’ like marijuana and cannabis in Barbados. Many cite studies which support marijuana use because it is a vegetable matter, it is naturally received by the body and it has medicinal influence. In many countries the use of marijuana is prescribed for specific ailments. Did anyone watch Willie Nelson on Larry King recently? The guy admitted he has been puffing the weed daily for years.
The other reason is the extent to which people charged with possession of the softer drugs help to create congestion in the Court System and therefore negatively influence how justice is dispensed. It is no secret there is a criminal underworld which supports the drug trade and to abolish serious penalties of possession of the softer drugs would go a long way towards its dismantlement.
A BU family member recently read about the negative effect the 13 Coffee Shops (Marijuana/hashish can be purchased legally) in the Netherlands are having on that country. The Dutch cities where the Coffee Shops are located attract high traffic from the ‘drug tourists’ who become the target for criminal activity. Bear in mind freedom to travel cross-border under the EU arrangement makes it difficulty to ban travel. The matter is currently being tested in the European Court of Justice. A unique solution designed to protect Dutch youth has now been abused because of the open borders brought about by the EU arrangement. To quote the article ‘allowing one country’s security concerns to override the European Union’s guarantee of a unified and unfettered market for goods and services.’
The predicament the Dutch currently finds itself and specifically the 13 cities where the Coffee Shops are located represent learning for Barbados. To those who are proponents of decriminalizing soft drugs in a CSME arrangement – what of it? If Barbados were to go that route wouldn’t the drug tourists flood Barbados in the same way they do the Netherlands from the EU border countries?
The point the BU family member wants to share is to highlight how the Dutch experiment has gone bad. What can we learn from it? The article from the New York Times is copy and pasted below for easy access.