How big a problem?

An issue which is apparently going unnoticed in the country is the large amounts of illegal drugs picked up in the first quarter of the year by the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF).

THE NEW TODAY has not been able to get an official figure from the police in terms of the quantities of drugs taken in and the market value.

However, it must be running in the region of EC$5 and above given the amount of ganja and cocaine recovered by the police between January and April from those plying the illegal drug trade.

Each week, the front pages of our leading local newspapers have been dominated by these large amounts of drugs picked up by the police in raids all over the country.

RGPF must be commended for their successes but the issue speaks of a much wider problem with drugs in the Grenadian society.

It is quite obvious that there is a thriving drug trade on the island and that a lot of money from the proceeds are in circulation on the island.

What is significant is that none of the persons arrested by the police for involvement in the drugs come from the so-called well-to-do areas in the country like Lance Aux Epines, True Blue and Westerhall Point.

Over the years, the cry in the country is that people who were living in these posh areas were the main financiers of the illegal drug trade as the ordinary man did not have the financial resources to buy drugs in large quantities and bring them into Grenada.

It is now clear as daylight that there has been a significant shift as more and more of the so-called ordinary man and woman on the island now have the means at their disposal to do the business on their own and not look to the so-called rich any more to bring in the illegal drugs.

Gone are the days as former Chief Magistrate Lyle St. Paul used to shout out in open court “Bring the big fish” as he alluded to the rich and mighty who were suspected to be the major players in bringing in the drugs into the country.

It should also be noted that despite these successful drug raids by the police, the criminal elements in the society are not perturbed and are definitely carrying on their business as if nothing is happening around them.

Shouldn’t this be a cause of concern for the political directorate in charge of the nation’s affairs?

Are they turning a blind eye to the growing drug business on the island given the clear evidence emerging from the police over the large quantities of drugs seized on the island in recent months?

THE NEW TODAY is wondering how much of this drug money is actually in circulation in the country and on the ground thus giving a false sense about the growth in the economy and a general lifting in the standard of living of the people in the country.

How much of this money is helping to spur construction activities, as well as the importation of vehicles by a new and emerging class of people in Grenada who are benefitting from the proceeds of illegal drugs?

Back in the 1970’s, the Jamaica Government allegedly turned to the exportation of drugs into the United States to obtain foreign currency in the face of an attempt to strangle its economy due to a bloody and bitter warfare among the two major political sides – one trying to install Socialism in the country and the other which was known to be Pro-Washington and favoured a capitalist path to development.

It was rumoured that airstrips were built in some mountainous parts of Jamaica from where small planes were loaded with ganja to make the journey into the United States to export the drugs in exchange for U.S dollars.

In one of our neighbouring islands, the reports often making the rounds point to the illegal drug trade being a major player in the daily livelihood of the residents there.

The talk on the ground is that many persons will bring solid cash to buy mini buses and not approach local commercial banks for loans to do the transaction.

Are we heading in that direction given the large amounts of drugs that are being seized by RGPF in recent weeks?

THE NEW TODAY is aware that some amount of money obtained in the illegal drug trade have found its way into the political campaigning during the holding of general elections.

However, the political directorate needs to get more sensitive to the growing problem as those who give will often look back for something in return as the days of free lunches are long gone.

The question that is now at hand is – how big a problem is Grenada facing as more and more drugs are being seized too often by the police?

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