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Letter: Gonsalves ganja stance is a breath of fresh air
Published on September 14, 2013 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Sir:

For months, attempts were made to get persons within the higher rungs of the Vincentian government structure to make comments on the issue of the decriminalization of marijuana.

Those government functionaries to this date are yet to return messages on the request for an interview on this most important issue of immense socio-economic importance to the Caribbean region.

In fact, one public servant remarked that those persons would not say anything on this topic because to do so is to them giving legitimacy to criminality. How backward is this thinking!

Vendors, bus drivers, teachers, nurses, and other persons spoken to all agreed that all Caribbean governments must examine the issue of marijuana – its decriminalization and potential medical and economic benefits, now.

It was quite a surprise to learn last Monday, September 9, 2013, of the letter dated September 2, 2013, written by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar of Trinidad and Tobago, who is the current chairperson of CARICOM.

In his letter, Dr Gonsalves wrote, “I think that it is high time that CARICOM address regionally this matter in a sensible, focused, non-hysterical manner.

“After all, the marijuana plant has a bundle of proven and potentially beneficial uses. It is true that its misuse and abuse, and the consequentially criminalization of its cultivation, possession and supply, have impacted on our people’s health, welfare, and security.”

In a region where Caribbean leaders – civic and political -- have kept their collective and individual heads buried in the sands of social, economic, and sporting issues, it is indeed a breath of fresh air to learn of Dr Gonsalves’ stance on marijuana.

Although he called for a debate on medical marijuana, it must be noted that the current laws on the statue books of the Caribbean islands dictate that there must be decriminalization of the plant within legal controls if its medical and economic benefits are to be realized by CARICOM.

These benefits will be touched in another opinion piece, but it is most disheartening to hear persons make accusations of Gonsalves playing politics.

The Caribbean is in need of its leaders taking hard, unpopular stances on issues of social and economic import, even if those positions would seem at odds with that of the USA.

If one is to look at the issue politically, it is a masterstroke, leaving the opposition unable to positively respond due to its lethargic vertical position on key issues.

It has also left the political opposition cramped in its horizontal position of opposing for opposing sake, a policy that continues to divide the country robbing it of fair, positive decision-making, which would be healthy for the socio-economic development of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

It is clear that the two issues of reparations and medical marijuana have left the opposition reeling in similar fashion like Frank Bruno from the most devastating two-punch combination from Mike Tyson.

In that fight, Bruno have showed great courage against Iron Mike going into the fourth round, encountered a different Tyson. Possessing some of the fastest hands seen in professional boxing, Tyson slipped a Bruno feeble left jab, unleashed a thunderous right body punch which caved in Bruno’s ribs, and had the referee cringing in pain, and then sent the Englishman’s head spinning into orbit with a right upper-cut.

That combination ended the fight, as a couple combinations later the referee stepped in to save Bruno further punishment.

Sadly, there is not a referee to save the opposition for the political divisiveness amongst the people will not allow this.

It would be wise for the political and civic opposition here in St Vincent and the Grenadines to look beyond the political ends of their noses, and make informed rational pronouncements in favour of both these issues.

To do so would not be in support of Ralph Gonsalves, but in support of the fight to regain lost integrity of black people on the reparations issue, and the economic survival and social wellbeing of the Caribbean region.

In the autumn of his political life, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has made two decisions that will not only enhance his legacy as a political activist, but as a leader who took decisions, though not popular, gave the Caribbean the guidance needed on critical issues.

It reminds one to think of what would the OECS and the wider Caribbean be had Tim Hector of Antigua, Rosie Douglas of Dominica, Maurice Bishop of Grenada, George Odlum of Saint Lucia, and Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines been prime ministers of their respective countries at the same time.

It is a luxury the Caribbean never has had the opportunity to enjoy, but as the last of the Caribbean Mohicans prepares to exit centre stage, the ganja stance of Dr Ralph Gonsalves is a breath of fresh air in this age of Caribbean/CARICOM foot dragging on key issues of socio-economic importance.

Robertson S. Henry
 
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Comments:

Vincentian:

It is also a campaign promise that won't see the light of day under the Gonsalves regime.

Peter Binose:

Its not a breath of fresh air, its a stink, a fart on the part of Gonsalves to bamboozle the people with the elections around the corner.

He is in a state of panic. Remember PM, life will prove a bitch for you and then you will die, some people will mourn some will celebrate, just like the rape rally, some for, some against.

Three score years and ten, take off a year for every ten pounds overweight, looks like time is almost up.

STEVE_HUGGINS:

Brother Henry, how ON, EARTH,could we possibly get a "breath of fresh air" from MARY JANE, GANJA, or HASHISH?

WOE, me bro., IT STINKS! Always.

After prolonged use, the mouth SMELLS like a putrid bird cage.

Even my fowl 'coob' smells much, much better.

Not to mention all your clothes, wardrobe, room, house.

If I were a police detective, I would be easily able to scent weed-users from a mile or more away.

ANY TIME one of these guys enter the same taxi, omnibus, or room/house as me, I usually can tell like ten minutes BEFORE-HAND.

Come on, comrade, need to find a more positive, constructive, up-building, creative, visionary, up-full and pragmatic solution to this ganja business.

Guys, from multiple years of teaching and sports coaching, I was able to painfully observe that the children and youth who were exposed to side-stream ganja smoke or (worse) actual ganja use ACTUALLY PERFORMED WORSE THAN THEIR COUNTERPARTS --- and usually showed clinical-like signs of DUMBING DOWN AND PERHAPS BRAIN DAMAGE.

LET US stop this propagandistic nonsense and frankly acknowledge that MARIJUANA USE IN OUR SOCIETY RESULTS IN REAL SERIOUS DAMAGE TO THE YOUTH.

Save the Youth of the nation. Find worthwhile alternatives to marijuana use and trading.

Marijuana-addiction is a modern form of SLAVERY.

Yes, how about a soon visit to the MENTAL HEALTH CENTRE or asylum and the General Hospital?

I have had close friends, relatives, students, past students, and (allegedly) colleagues, in some way or the other involved with the marijuana INDUSTRY and COMMUNITY. I give my heartfelt appeal: PLEASE brethren ESCHEW MARIJUANA USE.

My heart has sorrowed over the years as I increasingly noted the deleterious effects of our youth - - - the acknowledged FUTURE of our VINCENTIAN AND WEST INDIAN PEOPLE.

My countrymen, HAVE PITY AND MERCY ON WE CHILDREN AND YOUTH dem.

Don't let these corrupt BALD-HEAD politrickans and shyster LI-ARS, money-barracudas all, materially PROFIT from the destruction of our NATION and youth.

H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie I, to the very best of my little knowledge, never once smoke a spliff or even one blade a ganja or hashish.

Nor did he ever encourage or teach others to do such. He freely offered agricultural land to us diaspora Afro-West Indians and righteous people to return to Abyssinia-land of Nubia/Cush ["Ethiopia"] to GROW HEALTHFUL VEGETABLES, FRUITS, NUTS, and non-narcotic herbs.

Have a heart for the youth and children.

Change your priorities.

Let us all strive to live clean, righteous lives - - - so the SHYSTER LAWYERS, CORRUPT POLITICIANS and CROOKED MONEY-SUCKING BALD-HEADS won't live parasitically off we and we suffering.

The politicians have failed I-and-I economically and employment-wise.

The corrupt politicians have destroyed our SVG agriculture.

The 'solution' or COP-OUT is NOT marijuana.

Let the intellectually dishonest medical quacks or witch 'doctors' TELL US ABOUT THE FULL GAMUT OF HEALTH PROBLEMS, DISEASES, AILMENTS AND DEATH THAT RESULT FROM REPEATED OR PROLONGED MARIJUANA USE.

If nothing else, brethren, THINK OF THE CHILDREN.

Have a heart.


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