The war against drugs will continue if those involved do not have an alternative means of feeding their families.
This was one of the points stressed by Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite, during a recent courtesy call by Secretary General to the Organisation of American States, Jos√ Miguel Insulza, at his Wildey, St. Michael office.
Brathwaite pointed out that there was a need to create more opportunities for young people to move them away from that type of lifestyle. “If they can’t be an employee, they must eat and live,” he said, stressing there must be a parallel approach.
Noting that the drug trade was one of the main links to crime, the Attorney General also expressed concern over reports which indicated the region should expect to see increases in being used as a trans-shipment point. “That is hard to imagine since we are already seeing a prolific number [of drugs] present,” he said, noting the drugs were staying on the island and the impact was being seen in communities.
However, he pointed out that Barbados should have a finalised National Drug Plan within the next few months, to gauge the effectiveness of programmes designed at demand reduction.
Brathwaite added that there were also efforts to intervene in at-risk families through reforms in the juvenile justice system, and a revision of the juvenile legislation.
Insulza noted that the war on drugs was not unsuccessful as about 50 per cent were confiscated annually. However, he noted that it was time to start working on outstanding matters in terms of penalties for such crimes, and treating drug addiction as a chronic disease and not a crime.
The secretary general pointed out that there was a need to look and see what was best for each country. He suggested that there could first be a reduction in drugs followed by a reduction in violence.