Attorney-at-law sees drug link to rising crime

A serious probe into the marijuana trade in Barbados should form part of Government’s strategies to arrest the rise in violent crimes, attorney-at-law and social activist David Comissiong has suggested.

Against the backdrop of 25 murders so far this year – 21 of which were gun-related – compared to 22 in 2016, Comissiong argued that the nexus between gangs, guns and the illegal drug trade could not be denied.

He specifically called for the authorities to return to the drawing board on whether marijuana should be legalized or decriminalized.

“I think we have to be serious about the issue of gangs and the extent to which gangs are attached to the marijuana trade and the extent to which guns are a product of gangs, and the marijuana trade.

“If it [marijuana trade] is removed from being an illegal activity to which is attached considerable profits by those who engage in the illegal trafficking of marijuana, you may be able to diffuse that situation of gangs and guns.

“But this is something that will call for a lot of study and research and analysis and I think that kind of research and analysis needs to be undertaken by Barbados in a serious way,” he told journalists.

However, Comissiong, who would not be drawn into whether or not the drug should be legalized, even though he argued for the establishment of a national commission to research and analyze the best way forward on the matter.

“Let them research and examine the experience of other countries like Uruguay that legalized marijuana, Holland that has decriminalized and regulated the drug, countries like Canada and some of the [states] within the United States that have legalized medicinal uses of marijuana.”

Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite has been cautious on the issue on decriminalization of the drug.

Back in January he told a consultation of national stakeholders for the formulation of a national drug plan for 2017-2021, that the island could not afford to simply jump on the international bandwagon as far as the regulation of recreational drugs was concerned.

Like Comissiong, he had stressed that Barbados had to carry out some serious research.

“As a country and as minister responsible for the NCSA [National Council on Substance Abuse] ours is not to respond to the most emotive or loudest of voices. Ours is to respond and ensure that whatever decision we make, redounds to the benefit of the majority of the citizens of this country. So if there is a role for medicinal marijuana then let’s examine it and then make that determination,” Brathwaite had said at the time.

10 Responses to Attorney-at-law sees drug link to rising crime

  1. Keith Forde
    Keith Forde September 6, 2017 at 4:32 am


  2. Epaphras D. Williams
    Epaphras D. Williams September 6, 2017 at 5:43 am

    The marijuana trade like any other business is subject to certain pressures. I have been told the man at the top makes the money, the fool on the block trust out his weed and can’t even make profit cause people don’t always pay on time. If our men could get decent work and over $80. per day, the drug lords would have to sell their weed on the streets themselves. We need an education system with can support mentally weak children and take the excess out of the curriculum. Take back our youngsters people to the apprenticeship program.

  3. jrsmith September 6, 2017 at 5:53 am

    This guy as like all the others , talks as though he have just arrive from mars …… People still want to legalize the drug……………….

  4. fedup September 6, 2017 at 6:24 am

    Holder gine get u fuh dat!

  5. helen watts September 6, 2017 at 6:40 am

    Marijuana is not the problem drug, cocaine is, this is a completely different ballgame,it is the drug of choice for the rich who are instrumental in bringing this rubbish onto the island. It is managing to filter down to the streets and people are actually dying, it is like the elephant in the room. If marijuana was at least decriminalised, allow grown people to grow a couple of personal plant to feed their own habit then it would cut out the middle man. Its pretty obvious to me, the hard drugs are the problem and the people who take a backhand to turn a blind eye.

  6. JINNAH RAHMAN September 6, 2017 at 9:32 am

    DECRIMINALISING MARIJUANA – I write, here, as a Guyanese Journalist, who lived in the UK for more than 30 years and have experienced the destructive use of these substances that are addictive. I now live in Guyana.

    I have no personal experience in the use of soft or hard drugs, but I can see the daily brutal violence and total dislocation related to these substances, supplied by the “pushers” of these poisonous products.

    I concede, for the sake of drastically reducing the violence, that certain marijuana should be decriminalised, NOT LEGALISED, to take away the pomp and glory out of the hands of the mighty druglords.

    Guyana has not yet decriminalised marijuana, but there are a growing number of citizens, who want it to be controlled and not widely sold on the open market, as a business. Medical marijuana is contrick used by the sophisticated business to continue to make huge amount of money, in a “legal” market.

    It is not a cure for anything. Nothing from the outside cures any form of illness; the human body cures itself when it is placed in a physiological and physical condition of rest. Medicine does not cure, as the medical establishment tries to make people believe. But that is another subject matter.

    Guyanese incarcerated in Barbados jails, are, allegedly, badly treated by the law enforcement agencies , primarily, to extract vital information and file criminal charges against the elements held for the crime.

    There needs to be a CARICOM approach to this issue, but this CARICOM and all the Caribbean governments seem to be far away from the realities of life.

    The depressed economies of the Guyana and the Caribbean are attracting enormous impetus to make a desperate living and this seem to be the most lucrative trade, even though risky.

  7. Alex Alleyne September 6, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    WOW MAN, YOU JUST REALIZE THIS ?. Too busy with the HOTEL thing eh.

  8. Michael Goddard September 6, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    While there may be a connection I think more important factors are at play. The murder rate has increased steeply in a short period. I doubt the use or or trade of marijuana has changed much during that short period. So while they may be related, I do not think you can attribute the INCREASE in murder to a specific aspect of the drug trade. This has been observed in many other countries as well – for example drug use in the united states has been on a slow but measurable increase since the early 1990’s. However during this time the homicide rate has plunged. Crime and homicide are complex issues – of course drug use is one factor but only one among many. We would love to have a single target to “fix” but alas the world is more complex, nuanced and interconnected than that. Education, morality, policing, judicial administration, nutrition, outlook and many other factors come into play.

  9. Greengiant September 6, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    The real problem is cocaine Mr. Commisiong. I hope you haven’t recently seen the problem, we all saw it for several years. The time you spend fighting the government over developments that will increase employment, walking for workers who in these challenging times still have their jobs and several non critical issues of the day. You would do better preparing documents and getting signatures to present to our judiciary, and cabinet for legislative change that will give us all some breathing space from violent crime.

  10. Thunder September 6, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    Barbados must look at legalising or decriminalizing marijuana, because there is a serious drug trade in this country,and if you keep seizing all the drugs,then dealers are forced to make back, the money they lost how ever they can,it sounds horrible but it is true.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *