By Loshaun Dixon
Basseterre, St. Kitts-Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis Dr. Timothy Harris has expressed his opposition to legalizing marijuana by the the Opposition Party in the Nevis Island Administration if they were to take the reins of government, but however says he is prepared to set up a national commission on the matter.
“Do not let Parry and the NRP fool you thinking that they can do something about it. They had all the years in Government and they didn’t even call the word, so how come they are going to do something now?,” he said.
He mentioned Jamaica which has relaxed some marijuana laws. Dr. Harris claimed the policy changes has created problems in other sectors of society.
“Look at where something was tried in Jamaica and what has been their experience. The international banks in Jamaica are not accepting the passage of anyone who comes to the bank and says they are involved in the production of marijuana,” he said.
He said there are other issues that can be created if the plant was made legal in the Federation
“There are other issues. Imagine you going for a visa in Barbados what are you going to tell them. You think you are going to get any visa when you list your occupation as being involved in the production of marijuana?’, he said.
He described the promise of the NRP as ‘”foolishness,” and added, “They will not do anything and they cannot do anything about it.
He said this is an issue that goes beyond health and wellness
“This is a matter that has international implications and as a small country we have to be thoughtful. We can’t just get ahead of ourselves with the things we say to people. It is irresponsible for any leader to come to people in St. Kitts and Nevis and say we are going to legalize marijuana,” he stated.
The Prime Minister said if it could have been done all other countries would have already done it and also slammed the opposition the St. Kitts Nevis Labour party which has expressed openness to the idea.
“They had 20 years and they never did it. Why? We will have a sober conversation on the pros and the cons,” he said.
The Prime Minister said when Caribbean leaders met with former President of the USA Barack Obama and the question was raised by a regional Prime Minister who mentioned the economic benefits that Obama said don’t use that argument
“He said anything you can do with it, we can do it better up there. If you can plant it we have more lands than you ever have. If you want to do the processing we are already ahead. Since Obama said that I never heard that Prime Minister mention it again,” he claimed.
He said that while there are challenges, a conversation on the matter could still be had.
“We need a national conversation to see the case for and against marijuana to find a balanced position that makes sense and not get carried away with wild promises,” he declared.
Attorney General the Hon. Vincent Byron also opposed the possibility that such a move can take place by the NIA.
“This is a federal matter that must be dealt with by the National Assembly. In other words the island assembly in Nevis does not have the authority to pass laws that will sever questions of use of drugs and other things of that nature,” he said.