Lawmen in Barbados have reportedly made a shocking discovery: the existence of a sophisticated hydroponics laboratory in a Christ Church community that was producing high grade marijuana and giving lower grade ganja imported from St Vincent stiff competition on the local market.
Making the revelation last night, prominent criminal lawyer Arthur Holder did not say when the discovery was made but reported that smaller players in the illegal drug trade were charging that the high quality product, which was fetching as much as $10,000 per pound on the local market, was driving them out of business.
Holder was speaking at the regular monthly meeting of the St Michael Central constituency branch of the opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) at the George Lamming Primary School, Welches, St Michael. He was the unsuccessful BLP candidate in this constituency in the 2013 general election.
Head of the drug squad at the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) Inspector Elliott Bovell could not be reached to confirm the find and acting public relations office Acting Station Sergeant Roland Cobbler told Barbados TODAY he was unaware of any such discovery.
However, Holder charged that authorities have kept the discovery of the lab a secret, noting that, in contrast, whenever marijuana plants were found in working class communities, the news was generally announced with much fanfare.
“I am fortunate to be working for people on the block. A lot of people are not aware that a hydroponics laboratory was discovered in this country in relation to the production of hydro weed. A sophisticated laboratory with all of the hydroponics and surely no poor black boy can bring the equipment in,” Holder said.
“That is a fact. Talk to the fellows on the block and they will tell you what hydro weed sells for. It can fetch a price of $10,000 per pound. It is better than Vinci marijuana. Hydro weed is not coming through the Grantley Adams International Airport,” the outspoken attorney claimed.
Hydro weed is marijuana grown indoors using a hydroponics system (tubes and filters with water and fertilizers), according the Urban Dictionary. Hydroponics is the process of growing plants in sand, gravel, or liquid, with added nutrients but without soil, according to the Oxford Dictionary.
Holder, who is a trained social worker and generally considered one of this island’s better criminal lawyers, told his audience that in discussions with some clients he was told that they could not get any sales for their lower grade Vinci herb because hydro weed was more potent.
Looking at the state of crime and violence in the island, Holder warned that the block and gang no longer was a sub-culture but was fast becoming the dominant culture in Barbados. He said Government’s approach of enacting reactive legislation would not work, and suggested authorities “go to the source” if they are to find solutions.
“Anytime there is a social problem this Government seeks to enact a piece of legislation as if that would solve the problem. In order to solve these issues, we have to go to the source. We have to understand the underbelly of these issues,” he contended.
“This issue of crime and violence is not spasmodic, it is an issue that has been brewing for some time. If you understand the issue, it is concentrated in pockets in this country. It is concentrated among a certain class of people in Barbados and that is what we need to understand. It affects only a certain type of people whether we want to believe it or not. This scourge has arisen as a result of this block and gang phenomenon. Let us understand that. It is not an overnight development. It is something that has been swelling and swelling and it has now reached the core.”
“What we have failed to recognize or we do not want to recognize is that the so-called blocks have become part of the culture of Barbadian society. Do not fool yourselves about this talk about a sub-culture! The blocks in this society are no longer a sub-culture, they are part of the culture of our society. Unless we can address that as it is, we will continue to walk and put our heads in the sand.”
The judicial officer claimed the rise of these gangs and blocks has been given “a level of legitimacy” by the politicians, claiming that this was the source of the problem as it related to crime and violence.
“I am speaking from a level of authority. I saw it; so that if you have legitimized the blocks and the gangs and they have mushroomed as a result of that, this is what we are facing . . . it is practically impossible to rid yourself, whether you like it or not, of the gang and block phenomenon,” the criminal attorney argued.
Noting that most of the clients he represents come from the newer secondary schools, Holder also contended that the education system had failed this section of the approximately
4 000 students the system throws on the job market every year.
He said there was a high level of hopelessness among this segment of the society and maintained that harsher penalties would not eliminate the problem because many cases involved fathers who had children to support but lacked marketable skills to gain steady employment.