As the powers that be mostly obsess about improved and better regulated facilities for the drug addicts among us, former Minister of Health Donville Inniss is making no bones about where he would rather have his political colleagues place the emphasis –– on penalizing the drug lords; eliminating even.
The candid St James South MP, unreservedly stating his position in the House of Assembly on Tuesday, let his fellow parliamentarians know that they could regulate all the substance abuse facilities they liked, “but if we don’t deal with the issues of drug lords in this country, in particular, we are forever going to be looking to regulate and build more substance abuse facilities in Barbados”. And the Minister of Industry and Commerce is adamant that the kingpins of the narcotics industry and their narcotraffickers should most certainly be feeling the full weight of the law.
Logically, such pain ought to ensue as it relates to all lawbreakers –– in particular those who benefit financially from their misdeeds at their misled customers’ risk of ill health, and at the expanding expense of the nation’s caregiving.
Mr Inniss, alluding to a call he had made as Minister of Health some time ago, had proposed having drug lords posted at the Psychiatric Hospital to be compulsorily made to observe the effects of their trade on their victims; and, as further punishment, made to scrub and repaint the walls of the facility, and do some cooking in the kitchen too. In the last case, we would have preferred if they just had to wash the pots, pans, plates, bowls and cutlery after others had prepared and served the food.
Of course, Mr Inniss’ openly much detested drug dealers exist because there is an apparently extensive –– and lucrative –– demand in our commonsensically declining society for their illicit fare, meaning there is a growing number of drug users. So some commentators may argue –– no matter how questionably –– that eliminating the drug dealer without taking along with him the yearning of and consumption by society’s addicts would be a futile exercise.
Their hypothesis is that if you merely eradicate the present crop of suppliers without at least suppressing the demand, there will always be fresh providers to meet that lingering hunger. Sentencing of drug lords to refurbishment and domestic work at the Psychiatric Hospital would be superseded –– at least in imagery –– by continual demand and a replaced reserve and supply of illicit goods.
Truth be told, the solution to our societal drug problem is no simple one. Oh, that we could eliminate this demand, and with it go the supply!
In years past, our women did not require stick-on nails, nor Remy hair. They patiently grew their own. There was no need for posterior enhancers either. Granny just passed it down.
But in this capitalist and entrepreneurial world of ours, there will be that group who will come up with things they believe the rest of us can do with; so these products become items to buy on our list of monthy, weekly or daily expenses. In reality, what people “need” is what is made available on the market.
Yes, many drug users are often people with problems, who consume the illicit fare as an escape. In effect, it is a temporary solution. And very often when their troubles have gone, they are still stuck with the addiction.
While we acknowledge the move of the powers that be in being less repressive towards drug addiction, and being more restorative and educative, we aver it will take two hands to applaud any successful effort at mitigating the illicit drug supply and demand challenge we face.
On the one hand, we will lend support to the rehabilitation of the addicted. On the other, we will need to give serious thought to Mr Inniss’ concerns and suggestions.
And, If indeed there are those of us who know “the ones financing the drug trade in Barbados”, then we have a duty to inform the police –– anonymously if we must. And so does, we believe, any Government minister!