Six Guyanese charged in the biggest drug bust in Barbados’ history are still on trial.
Christopher Bacchus, 39, and his wife Diane, 33, of No. 30 Bay Gardens, Bayland, St Michael; Lemme Campbell, 40, and his wife, 36-year-old Somwattie Persaud, of 106 New Garden Street, Georgetown, Guyana; Gavin Wayne Greene, 34, of Bridgefield, St Thomas; and Rohan Rambarran, 39, were all charged with importing cocaine and marijuana worth Bds$7 million, between November 23 and 30, 2005. … (snip)
Barbados police discovered more than 109 packages of cocaine and 78 packages of marijuana in a shipment of lumber, which arrived from Guyana. On November 18, 2005, agents of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) had searched a consignment of timber destined for Barbados at the GNIC wharf after they received a tip off that it contained drugs.
Campbell and his wife Somwattie made headlines locally in 2005 when the woman was kidnapped from the couple’s New Garden Street, Queenstown home… Lemme Campbell had told the local media that he had no problem with anyone and he could not think of any reason apart from robbery, for the attack on his family. He was said to be a fish exporter for a number of years.
… read the entire article at Stabroeknews (link here).
Drugs = Money, Gangs, Violence & Trouble
Last year I passed through Jakarta International Airport for the first time and if I never see Indonesia again in my life it will be too soon.
Soldiers all over the place with machine guns – just armed teenaged thugs most of them. They rudely invaded the aircraft I was on and scared everyone. Looked in every bag, every little place and then started to open access panels with electric screwdrivers and pry bars and such until the captain made a big fuss that a crew member should be present at every opened panel. In their zeal, they even climbed up on the wing and opened an inspection hatch. They made the pilot drop the rear airstair and then attacked it with a drill – taking out the pop-rivets to look inside the steps. (Apparently this is a favourite drug smuggling location on the 727. I never knew – thanks for the tip, guys!)
Had anything been found I am sure they would have taken in everybody and it would have been the old “prove you are innocent” scenario.
In Indonesia there are signs at every entry point saying “DaDa Is Death” and other very clear messages, including one poster I saw with a photograph of a drug dealer being hanged. That poster was right beside the “Welcome to Indonesia” tourism sign. Wish I had of taken a photo but there were other signs saying “No Photographing” and I didn’t feel too much like testing the mood of the teenage thug-soldiers.
Whatever my feelings about my first brief stopover in Indonesia, there was no doubt in my mind about how that society views drugs.
Barbados Society Sends Out A Different Message – Marijuana Isn’t Really So Bad
In Barbados we send out a different message than Indonesia. Sure, drugs are illegal, but especially with ganja – society and the government look the other way for end-users and small distributors.
What better proof is there of this official willingness to tolerate ganja than the appointment of Dr. Ikael Tafari as Director of the Commission for Pan African Affairs by the Government of Barbados?
Dr. Tafari is a public proponent of the use of marijuana by virtue of his choice of being a Rastafarian. Some of his public statements also confirm his position. As recently as December 4, 2006, The Nation News published one of his articles where (in context) he argued that Rastas should be accepted with mainstream religions despite the fact that marijuana is the “illegal sacrament at the heart of the Rastafari faith…”
Once again, Barbados is a free country and people should be able to say what they want – but saying what you want and receiving a government post is another. The appointment of such a proponent of an illegal drug to a Government agency is nothing more or less than a public endorsement of that person and his message – his entire public message. The appointment of Dr. Tafari sent a number of messages to Barbadian youth. One of those messages was that smoking marijuana is not so bad, and even the government doesn’t think that marijuana is a big deal.
Which brings us to the main points of this rambling missive –
1/ Foreign drug thugs and gangs have gained a foothold on this little island. Everybody knows it, but very few are speaking out for fear of injuring the tourist image. Violence is the natural partner of drugs, and we’ve seen lots of evidence lately that this is true.
2/ We as a society are sending a mixed message to our children. Marijuana is illegal and bad for individuals and society – but not so bad that the government won’t appoint the drug’s highest profile proponent to a government-supported agency. Big bad drug dealing gangs are bad, but those who purchase from these thugs or are part of their distribution network at the end-user levels are “not so bad”.
3/ Law enforcement in Barbados is not a priority of government. Simply looking at the chronic underfunding of the police is enough to confirm this.
4/ We have a year or two to turn things around – and maybe not even that long. It will take a massive injection of funds into law enforcement – but most of all a real change in the attitude and priorities of government. Fine words by the PM and AG are cheap and mean nothing anymore.
Our home and peaceful Bajan culture is under attack. Our public representatives had better start defending it.