The St. Kitts-Nevis Observer
No. 806 • April 9, 2010
SKN Observer
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Recently The Observer newspaper published the news that a force of policemen had raided a ganja patch, pulled up the young plants and set them ablaze. The Corporal in charge seemed very proud of himself as he posed for his picture near to the smoking scene. He was not aware of course that he was playing a part in one of the more idiotic pastimes of our culture: The hunting and destroying of Marijuana

When are we going to stop this stupidness, trying to arrest the spontaneous growth of weed? I've asked repeated times: Why is it a crime to grow ganja especially in these parts where soil and the atmosphere are so conducive to its flourishing growth? Particularly in our impoverished economy where the underclass young men and women desperately try to earn a decent livelihood?

Every patch of ganja growing in the mountain belongs to some youth who, unable to find gainful employment down town, repairs to the hills, toils in the sun, cultivates a plot of land with a commodity which is in demand, cares for each single plant and nurtures his plot faithfully expecting that the plants will mature and he will make some money on which to survive.


The young policeman could pose near the burning patch and wear a self congratulatory smile for his job well done. He obviously does not understand the pain he caused that young man who, from a safe distance away looks on with agony as the hard work which he has done goes up in flames.

The young policeman has a regular job .He is a career policeman. He is doing well in his job because he wears two stripes and leads men under his control. His patrol partners have secure jobs .His superiors have secure jobs. None of them knows the pain and embarrassment of being out of a job, of lacking the money to buy food, pay rent ,feed his baby and support his girl friend.


Other self-righteous people condemn him, and applaud the police for destroying his farm. Perhaps they mean well; they think marijuana is the worst thing in the world They do not know what they are talking about. They don't even know that the reason why ganja is outlawed in the Caribbean is to please the United States who wanted no competition against their tobacco industry.

It seems to me that the authorities should by now understand that no matter what they do they cannot make marijuana extinct. It is not a factory product which can disappear by destroying the plant and machinery. It is not like whiskey and vodka or cigarettes. It is not like Hammond report which could be suppressed by drying up the supply of molasses and smashing up the makeshift stills


Dread man ploughs the field, and scatters the good seed on the land; and it is fed and watered, by God's almighty hand.

It is God's gift to the people and whatever potency it is credited with, that's God's blessing The reason why some people smoke it and drink it in tea, is that they experience some kind of highs and lows which make them feel good When tourists visit our island they expect to get some pot to smoke .We can grow pot here We ought to have pot to sell to our visitors so that our poor young men and women can get a piece of the tourist dollar instead of being hounded down and harassed ,fined and confined for toiling on the land in the blazing sun cultivating a plant which is a natural product of St Kitts and Nevis.

This is stupidness and should stop. It discriminates against black people of the Caribbean in favour of white continental capitalists. It robs our economies of the valuable foreign exchange which could be earned from the export of ganja to tens of thousands of tourists The interference with this market is unwarranted and foolish and prevents our national product from reaching its full potential.

Crime motivator

When the police raid a ganja field and pull up the young plants, they make ganja scarcer and the price goes up. Those whose patches escape detection make a lot of money. Those whose patches were destroyed steal from those who escaped the raid and sell the stuff to make some money.

The victims of the theft can't go to the police so they get a gun and shoot the thief. This is the real crime now, murder! The dead man's brother or cousin decides he nar tek it so, and stalks the shooter and shoots him when he catches him in a corner


Now all this murder and mayhem would not have happened if ganja was not illegal, if policemen by the platoons were not going mountain pulling up the weed and making it scarce.

As bad as it is to interfere with the supply of ganja, it is just as bad to try to regulate the demand by criminalising its use.

Just why is it a crime to use the stuff? Those who use it claim that it makes them feel good, the same claim which the alcohol users make for their stuff. Cigarette users say the same thing about their pet vice. The rum and whiskey drinkers do not go to jail or pay a fine. Indeed, they could walk boldly into any smoke & booze and collect their stuff without molestation. I don't think the authorities can explain why ganja smokers cannot have the same privilege.

I used to attend cocktail parties where all that the party goers did was eat and intoxicate themselves with a variety of liquor. Every now and then, like clockwork, the servers would circulate in the crowd with trays of all kinds of drinks and before long, many of the socialites were dead drunk and some of them would invariably indulge in foolish chatter.

Some people have to be escorted to their homes totally oblivious of what was going on around them, their bodies bulging with too much food and too much to drink.
also frequented a drinking spot, where one of the regulars was the son of a very prominent citizen. He, the son, had not done very well in life. All he had to boast about were his father's achievements. Almost invariably, after a few hours of imbibing he would remind the gathering who his father was, and then he would do something stupid to prove that he was of nobler birth than the rest of us. One night he decided to be more theatrical in his bid to hold our attention. So he pulled down his pants threatening to defecate in the bar. The bar owner had to threaten him with a bull whip to bring him back to some sense of equilibrium.

Nobody ever thought of removing this human failure off the street and putting him in jail. His human right to make an ass of himself and be a nuisance to his fellows was respected. So why lock up a chap because he has somehow developed a taste for ganja or pot as the Americans call it?

I used to smoke cigarettes but now as I look back I shiver at how insensitive I used to be, puffing smoke into other peoples' faces, forcing them to inhale the foul smelling odours. I can now look back over the distant years and see some of my friends, frantically fanning the smoke from their faces as I puffed it at them like an endless chain.

It also used to make me cough. It was actually killing me. Sometimes as I sat at the card table, I would enter into a convulsion of uncontrollable coughing. I would do as my mother had taught me and put my hand to my mouth but sometimes it came suddenly and was really embarrassing. I am sure that if I had not dropped the habit nearly 20 years ago I would already have died. Nobody, not my best friends or my worst enemies ever suggested that I be incarcerated for any of my dirty habits. If I were a ganja smoker, however I would be fined, confined and otherwise harassed by the authorities.


I was able to survive alcohol and tobacco. but I was not able to triumph over bananas, and pork and fried fish. These were my delicacies, four bananas at one gulp. Joyous addiction to "do-dung" pork, cook up wid pork, souse, especially pig head souse. These things clogged my arteries, threatened my life, put me to lie in hospital for months at a time.

Perhaps it would have been better for me if I had been put in jail to keep me away from my bad eating habits, but my human right to kill myself with food had to be respected.

So what happens to the human right of freedom for addicts to ganja? On what just grounds do we have the right to harass them, destroy their plots, fine them and confine them for enjoying a spliff?

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