Last update: 12-Dec-2013 4:50 am
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
You are here
PM on decriminalising use of ganja: More research needed
Caricom chairman and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says no decision was taken on the issue of decriminalising marijuana in the region. She was speaking during yesterday 27th meeting of the Caricom Bureau at the Noor Hassanali Conference Room, Parliament Building, Waterfront Centre, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain.
Among the other Caribbean leaders attending were Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves. Caricom Secretary General Irwin LaRocque also attended. Gonsalves had written Persad-Bissessar seeking to have the matter addressed.
Noting that the issue of decriminalising marijuana was raised by Chief Justice Ivor Archie on Monday at the opening of the new law term, Persad-Bissessar told the news conference that some 16 states in the United States have (legalised) marijuana/cannabis for health purposes. She said, however, the Caricom leaders “were of the view in our preliminary discussions today that we’ll need much further research (on the issue).”
The Caricom chairman said the bureau “has tasked the Caricom Secretariat to do research with respect to the medical issues as well as on the legislative and legal issues.”
Persad-Bissessar said in T&T, the National Drug Council has been addressing the issue of legalising marijuana for medical purposes. She said the group had developed a concept paper which will be given to the Caricom Secretariat for further discussions. “So the decision is no decision was reached on that issue, except to say further research is needed, much more consultations in each of our countries with various stakeholder groups.”
In February next year the research will be presented by Caricom Secretariat to the Caricom heads. On the issue of reparation to Caribbean states for slavery and the slave trade, Persad-Bissessar said each Caricom leader would speak about the matter when they addressed next week’s United Nations General Assembly in New York. She said the Caricom states would pursue “diplomatic rules of engagement as we seek to repair the damage that would have been done to our countries through the slave trade and slavery.”
She said the objective was to ensure that everyone benefitted. “It is not that we are seeking compensation per person but to repair the countries so every member of our lands will benefit, should we be successful in this bid,” she added. Gonsalves told the news conference reparation would not only benefit Caricom states but Europe also.
He said the claims for reparation for native genocide and slavery “connects with the legacy of these crimes against humanity and the extent which those crimes have contributed to the current state of underdevelopment.” He said the intention was for Caricom states “to work with the former colonial powers in Britain, France and Holland in a non-confrontational way and to be part of a developmental dialogue in going forward.”
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.