More Barbadians are cultivating cannabis strictly for domestic sale, an assistant commissioner of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) reported today.
Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police William Yearwood said that as the RBPF gathers more intelligence to intercept drugs at the ports of entry, perpetrators are now seeking to grow the contraband in remote areas.
Revealing the latest quarterly crime figures, Yearwood said: “For the last quarter of the year that is up to March, we have had . . . 468 cases brought before the courts involving drugs such as cases which include; possession of cannabis up to March they were 185, cultivation of cannabis because we have been intercepting the drugs persons are now seeking to grow the drugs on the island in the cane fields and in the wooded areas. We had 15 such cases. Importation has been 24.
“Exporting – they were no cases of exporting – trafficking 84 cases, intent to supply 84 cases. Possession of apparatus is those persons who want to smoke it and so on using pipes, whether it is bamboo or plastic material they were 14 such cases and what we term as other drug crimes, two which have been placed before the court thus far.
He further revealed for the month of April, 165 drug cases were brought before the courts with 11 cases for the cultivation of cannabis, 33 cases of intent to supply, five cases of possession of apparatus, 33 cases related to trafficking, ten cases of importation and 63 cases of the possession of cannabis.
Yearwood declared: “Having done the interdiction, persons have sought to increase cultivation in land and we have problems with this but we have been making seizures.
“We have not been getting persons convicted in such matters but we have been stemming the flow of drugs on the island.
But the assistant commissioner blamed police understaffing for hindering lawmen in the apprehending the growers.
Yearwood said: “I want to mention here such operations can go for days and we are currently 280 personnel short because of persons either leaving the force, retiring and so on. So we do not have the manpower to go into lengthy operations.”
The acting assistant commissioner of police added that in the month of April there have been three cases of intent to supply cocaine, three cases of possession of cocaine and three cases of trafficking of cocaine. He noted there has only been one case of ecstasy so far since April this year.
He told the media that generally crime has been down but commercial burglaries have increased at this time with persons seeking to steal liquor to sell.
Yearwood said: “Burglaries have been steady throughout the years yet this year we have had a reduction in burglaries. It is only the commercial burglaries that were on the increase in recent times as persons are seeking to get liquor and those kind of things.
“Crop Over is on now so commercial burglaries they are committing to get liquor and so on to sell to make money.
The senior police officer revealed the data at a graduation ceremony for students from the St Giles Primary School’s completion of its Drug Abuse Resistance Education programme (D.A.R.E).