Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell says that he would not support his Vincentian colleague, Dr Ralph Gonsalves as he seeks CARICOM’s support to legalise marijuana.
Press Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, Kisha Alexander-Grant in response to The New Today’s queries about Grenada’s position in relation to this new development, said that Prime Minister Mitchell indicated that while he respects the St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister’s intent for his country, he has no intention to support this cause in the interest of the Grenadian people.
In a letter addressed to chair of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping last week, Gonsalves made a plea for “a reasoned debate” led by CARICOM political and civic leadership in the context of the legislation of marijuana for medical and other uses.
In his letter to Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Gonsalves said it is high time that CARICOM addresses “this matter in a sensible focus not hysterical manner”.
According to a CMC report, Prime Minister Gonsalves said that the marijuana plant has a bundle of proven and potentially beneficial uses and it is true that its use and abuse and the consequential criminalisation of its cultivation, possession and supply have impacted on the health, welfare and security of the people.
Dr. Gonsalves felt that the matter should have been explored at the meeting of the Bureau of CARICOM leaders in Trinidad on September last week Friday, the CMC report said.
In addition, the Vincentian leader pointed out in the letter that preparatory work can possibly be done so as to place the matter on the agenda of the CARICOM Inter-Sessional summit to be held here in February next year.
Prime Minister Gonsalves said the general public is disappointed with “the failure and or refusal of the political and civic leadership in CARICOM to jettison it or unnecessary caution and lethargy in addressing some of the controversial contemporary issues of real import,” the CMC report said.
St Vincent and the Grenadines is considered to be one of the major suppliers of marijuana in the Caribbean.
The previous administration of former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas refused to bow to pressure to legalise the illegal substance under his tenure.
In 2012, Thomas made his position clear in his address to the 9th Annual General Meeting of the Grenada Drug Information Network and National Observatory on Drugs (GRENDIN/NOD).
He said the Congress government rejected calls to decriminalise marijuana ten years ago and will stick to its position, given the potential impact on “national well-being and law and order.”
“Today, amid renewed attempts at the regional and international levels, I wish to place on record that my government will not yield to such pressures or persuasions. We will not decriminalise or legalise marijuana,” the former prime minister said, while reaffirming government’s commitment to the national anti-drug campaign.