Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 1st 2017 Contents A20 commentary
guardian.co.tt Wednesday, March 1, 2017
HOW TO WIN A SECOND TERM
Awoman, Michaeline Wall,
a disabled person was
convicted a few weeks ago
(Guardian, February 11)
for marijuana offences. It passed
relatively unnoticed in the gush of
Carnival, Trump and Fatca mush.
This is Ms Wall's second offence;
last year she was found guilty and
fined by a magistrate for using
marijuana for the pain from which
she suffers constantly.
This conviction was more seri-
ous as Ms Wall admitted to selling
marijuana because it was the only
way she could make a living.
For her poverty, disability, and
possibly her gender, Ms Wall has
the unenviable position of being
the most visible and most helpless
woman to be so negatively affect-
ed by the most powerful men in
the country: the Prime Minister,
the Attorney General, and the
Commissioner of Police.
First the Commissioner, he
whose modus operandi now
seems to be brandishing statistics
at the population showing them
the crime they're being terrorised
by is not there, or less than they
The Commissioner should put
away his statistics and look at his
officers, the brave policemen who
arrested Ms Wall, twice, and asked
what else they're up to.
There's no point being outraged
at those who would arrest a disa-
bled woman, twice, while bandits,
murders, rapists, child molesters
and psychotic drivers roam free.
Laventille residents recent-
ly provided the Commissioner
with the names of officers who
allegedly come in the community
and, among other things, frame
young men who won't sell drugs
Clearly, there's a cancer in the
body of the police service. And
the Commissioner either doesn't
know or doesn't care.
Which leads us to the PM and
AG. The PM, as chairman of the
National Security Council, and
head of the government, is ulti-
mately responsible for the protec-
tive services, and their failures.
The AG is responsible for the
legislative agenda of the govern-
ment--in this case, the archaic
laws concerning marijuana.
This is actually an excellent
opportunity for their collective
For here, it appears, is one small
thing that could change the lives
of poor people, help women, and
redirect the brutes in the police
force (at the least) away from in-
That thing is changing the law
on marijuana. There's also an-
other benefit to reforming the
law: the effect on national mental
health, but more on this later.
The law, as it is now, allows
lazy police officers to "game" the
promotions system by recording
drug arrests for small amounts of
It's also corrupt, since the black
poor are invariably victims of this.
This leads to the slow death
of entire communities as young,
innocent men are thrown into the
prison system and transformed
into monsters. It also clogs the
judicial system to the point of pa-
But don't take my word for it.
Writing in the NY Times on Feb-
ruary 7, the former president of
Colombia, César Gaviria wrote of
his country's experience with the
war on drugs: "The war on drugs
is essentially a war on people.
Throwing more soldiers and po-
lice at the drug users is not just a
waste of money but also can actu-
ally make the problem worse.
"Locking up nonviolent offend-
ers and drug users almost always
backfires, instead strengthening
Furthermore, he wrote: "Many
of our brightest politicians, judg-
es, police officers and journalists
were assassinated. At the same
time, the vast funds earned by
drug cartels were spent to corrupt
our executive, judicial and legisla-
tive branches of government."
Mr Gaviria is a member of the
Global Commission on Drugs.
Of that organisation he wrote:
"We believe that the smartest
pathway to tackling drugs is
and ensuring that governments
regulate certain drugs, including
for medical and recreational pur-
And here's the crux for Trini-
The medicinal use of marijuana
could transform the mental and
social landscape of Trinidad and
The recent incident of the
woman on Wrightson Rd who had
a minor breakdown after a traffic
altercation is an indication of the
massive amount of stress and
mental illness silently ravaging
the country now. Many more in-
cidents occur daily without the
Relatedly, an article in the Ex-
press on February 15, reported
the head of the Pharmacy Board,
Andrew Rahaman, saying the
mark-up on medical drugs is too
high (sometimes 100 per cent),
and ought to be regulated.
Which again brings us back to
Ms Wall, who resorted to marijua-
na because she could not access
legal (and considerably less effec-
tive) drugs and healthcare.
Ms Wall is an emblem of many
of the people walking around the
country now: severely afflicted by
some form of malady which could
be helped by an inexpensive,
This isn't to say marijuana is a
panacea, but decriminalising it
could change the nation for the
better in an incalculable way.
It could literally free a whole
class of people from the bondage
of corrupt police.
It could improve the mental
health of the nation. It could force
the police to work at chasing ac-
Very little groundwork needs to
be done on this. The research is
already there. Johann Hari's book,
Chasing the Scream, provides
history, cites numerous legal and
medical studies, and stories of the
consequences of the war on drugs
So, in this period of reflection
after the excesses of Carnival,
perhaps the Attorney General
and the Prime Minister can think
It's an easy win: decriminalise
a drug that was legal in Trinidad
before independence, provide
relief to people suffering from a
wide range of disease, from stress
to cancer, and free a large number
of black poor people from police
Or is this too easy for politi-
cians? Here's a sweetener: do this,
and you're guaranteed a second
TRINI CRIME-FIGHTING METHODS
Put God on TTPS Payroll.
Acting Deputy Police Com-
missioner Wayne Dick last
year revealed that God had
helped him to be astute, as well as
arrest and charge a suspect in the
Shannon Banfield murder.
Therefore, if God is put on the
Police Service payroll, He will
surely work even harder and, be-
ing omnipotent and omniscient,
may even prevent people being
murdered in the first place.
In these parlous times, people
shouldn't expect God to work
for free or prayers. After all, He
has other things to do, such as
preventing same-sex marriage,
abortions, and shrimp.
Make Business Illegal: All
crime is caused by capitalism, as
all trade union leaders and UWI
academics who are not econo-
Therefore, the government
must make it illegal to make a
profit, especially obscene profits,
which are defined as profits larger
than the salaries of trade union
leaders and UWI academics.
Once profits are eradicated,
therefore, all crime will cease,
including domestic violence since
women will not nag men for mon-
ey to buy shoes.
Make Criticism of Feminists
Illegal: When men and wom-
en who like men are allowed to
badtalk gender feminists, this fa-
cilitates social injustice and high-
priced coffee, which encourages
Badtalking equity feminists has
no effects, since that species of
feminist rejects the concepts of
patriarchy and brewing.
Gender feminists, however,
are real women and sort of men
who understand everything
about everything and, ipso facto,
are able to speak for all human
beings, including men and the
women who like them.
Hence anyone who criticises a
gender feminist's opinions, ideas
and arguments is helping crim-
inals and should be prevented
from so doing.
Make Whips Tax-Free.
Everyone except parents who
don't read the Bible knows that
sparing the rod spoils the child.
Government should therefore re-
move taxes on rods, leather belts
and bilnas, while providing subsi-
dies to guava trees. Children who
are beaten but still grow up to be-
come criminals probably weren't
beaten hard enough.
Eradicate poverty. Were it
not for greedy business people,
the government could eradicate
poverty tomorrow. All they have
to do is print more money so that
everyone will be well-off.
This policy was working well in
Venezuela until the CIA fomented
unrest by sabotaging toilet paper
However, if the United States
refuses to sell T&T toilet paper,
politicians who want to allow 12-
and 14-year-old girls to be sold in
marriage can talk enough crap so
ordinary citizens don't have to.
Ensure Religion Is Respect-
ed. This will go a long way to-
wards reducing crime, since peo-
ple who respect religion are less
likely to be criminals.
While it is true that all relia-
ble surveys show that societies
with high rates of religious belief
are more violent and corrupt,
all those acts are committed by
non-believers and people who
belong to the wrong religion.
Thus, the high rates of violence
and corruption in religious soci-
eties proves how evil flourishes
among atheists and people who
worship false gods, which is why
respect for religion is crucial for
Stop Earthquakes. Everyone
except atheist geologists knows
that homosexuality causes earth-
Last December, Trinidad and
Tobago experienced a 6.1 magni-
tude earthquake and in that same
month some homos had to be
thrown out of a Government con-
sultation on how to stop homo-
sexuals spreading AIDS by their
Look how many women are
being murdered in T&T and, as
everyone knows, homosexuals
That is why they are homosex-
ual. Therefore eradicating homo-
sexuality will help stop women
and heterosexual men from being
abused and murdered, as well as
raise oil prices.
Change Men. Men commit
99 per cent of all murders and,
although men are also 90 per cent
of all murder victims, they usually
do something stupid that gets
So if we teach boys to be more
like women, when they get into a
confrontation they will not kill,
just criticise the other person's
The government therefore
needs to make boys watch Sophia
the First, play with dolls, and cry
when sad. This will ensure that
they do not grow up to be mur-
derers, rapists, or footballers.
com • Kevin Baldeosingh is a
professional writer, author of
three novels, and co-author of a
Caribbean history textbook.
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