Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, has told reporters here that he has no suggestions for Saint Lucia regarding the way forward on marijuana, as this country mulls calls for decriminalising the herb.
Browne attended the fifth meeting here of the Caribbean Development Roundtable promoting climate resilience and sustainable economic growth in the Caribbean, hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
“We respect the sovereignty of all states and would not meddle in the affairs of Saint Lucia to suggest or recommend anything in terms of policy to the Saint Lucia government,” Browne declared when asked about possible recommendations on ganja to the Saint Lucia government.
He asserted that the marijuana issue was a matter for this country’s Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet and his administration.
Prime Minister Browne told reporters here that the criminalisation of the use of ganja is “useless” and would destroy a number of young people, who would otherwise be productive citizens.
According to Browne, the ganja issue would reduce the chances of young people getting a university degree abroad or obtaining a visa to travel to certain countries because of the fact that they were incriminated for a “spliff.”
He noted the situation of an overcrowded prison – many individuals being there for the “simple violation” of using marijuana.
“So for us it was further undermining the development prospects of our youth,” Browne explained.
He stated that as a small Island developing state, Antigua and Barbuda has to be concerned about the development of its human capital and remove impediments to its growth and development.
However, Browne made it clear that is not advocating for the use of marijuana.
“We do accept that marijuana does bring some medicinal value and provided it is regulated and used responsibly, marijuana can bring some significant health benefits to our people,” he remarked.