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Drug craze

consumption of and demand for cannabis a major concern

by Emmanuel Joseph

The head of this country’s Police Drug Squad has raised fears of alarming levels of cannabis consumption and demand across Barbados.

Superintendent Grafton Phillips has also put auhorities on notice, that they need to review the existing substance abuse programmes which sought to reduce demand, “because they don’t seem to be working”.

Phillips told Barbados TODAY this morning that, for example, locally grown marijuana was now being cultivated all over the island, with no particular place left untouched.

“Up to this morning, I got a call about marijuana in Boscobelle, St. Peter. There has been a tremendous increase in the seizure of locally grown cannabis this year. Up to the end of June we seized 14,673 plants, compared to 17,239 for the whole of last year and we are only mid way into the year. We have almost reached the figure for the whole of last year,” noted the senior lawman.

He pointed out that illegal drugs were now frequently entering Barbados via the General Post Office and courier service companies.

“Almost every week, some of it is sent out by mail to the various district post offices, not knowingly by the post office. We have had cannabis sent by mail to the Eagle Hall Post Office, to Bentham’s Post Office in St. Lucy, to St. George and to Brittons Hill. The drugs come in computer parts, television sets, speakers and so on,” Phillips added.

Arguing that St. Vincent was a major marijuana producing country in the Caribbean, he said that neighbouring CARICOM island had become the number one exporter of the drug to Barbados.

“The consumption of and demand for cannabis in Barbados have reached alarming levels. I would like the authorities to look again at their demand programmes because they don’t seem to be working.

“What has happened this year is that between January and May, there had not been much activity because of the Tradewinds Military Exercise, and before Tradewinds there was an eradication programme in St. Vincent. But now that Tradewinds is over and Crop-Over is here, there has been a significant increase in drug activity. Normally when you have major events in Barbados you would see an increase in drugs because the market is there,” Phillips said.

Between last Saturday and this morning the police’s Drug Squad has seized more than a ton of cannabis. In a previous operation coordinated by the local Drug Squad, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines law enforcement authorities seized 1,706 pounds of cannabis bound for Bim and arrested four Barbadians.

Only last night at around 8.20, a joint operation at sea involving police and the Coast Guard, along with the Regional Security System, intercepted a go-fast boat about 9.7 nautical miles off Neehhams Point, in St. Michael. This resulted in the seizure of four large taped packages of cannabis, weighing 825 pounds.

A chase by the coast guard ended with the confiscation of the 15-foot vessel and the arrest of four men, three Barbadians and a Vincentian. Police said one of the Barbadians was hospitalised after being shot in his right ankle.

Six days ago law enforcers made a substantial drug haul of 307 pounds of cannabis at Heywoods Beach in St. Peter, arrested three Barbadian men and confiscated one boat and a vehicle. Three days later, two Barbadians and two nationals of St. Vincent were held during an operation at sea off North Point, St. Lucy. A total of 1,394 pounds of marijuana were found.

“None of the cannabis which come into Barbados goes back out.

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