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Sunday 26 January 2020
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PM advises against smoking the drug

Although marijuana decriminalised

Dr Keith Rowley -
Dr Keith Rowley -

The Prime Minister has advised against the use of marijuana, even though it has been decriminalised in TT.

Speaking with CNC3 during a one-on-one interview on Sunday, Dr Rowley said he has never used the drug.

"I lived in Jamaica for three years and it was never my ambition. Decriminalisation has made marijuana more available without penalty. I want to appeal particularly to our young people, particularly those who are easily influenced at the high school level, that marijuana smoking is not to be recommended. It is classified for good reason under the heading of dangerous drug. It is a dangerous drug and it could harm you. I have had first hand experience of persons who have ruined their lives because of marijuana, as they have done with alcohol and cigarettes."

Questioned about the country's high crime rate, Rowley admitted that his Government has not made the progress citizens expected and were entitled to.

TT had 538 murders last year, the second highest ever in this country.

"The entire country is underestimating the threat being made by the criminal element, but in our manifesto we expressed the optimism of the effort that we intended to make expecting that those efforts would bear the kind of fruit that the circumstances require.

"You may recall the Keith Noel 136 was when the population was being revolted by 136 murders. The country has been engaged in this for so long in reducing 500 to 400."

Rowley said National Security Minister Stuart Young has a difficult job and he was satisfied that was doing what was required, but said there was always room for improvement. He added that he did see ministerial change as a response to the crime wave, and the energy and dedication Young brought to the forefront was what was required.

Asked if Police Commissioner Gary Griffith was doing a satisfactory job in combating crime, Rowley what was missing from the police effort , that being the agency for securing the nation and responding directly to the criminal element, was leadership, and in the absence of a substantive CoP, there was an absence of leadership on the police service. He said that leadership has been brought to bear on the problem that they were now trying to solve.

Rowley said it was not be fair to measure the Government for a situation that did not arise overnight.

"Crime and criminality is a responsibility for TT and the Caribbean, and it is going to remain a major focus while we would have not reduced the murders that we have embarked upon, there are a lot of things the Government has been successful at. I would hope that the broader population would judge us in the broader canvas than on this chronic problem that we are grappling with."

Told that if Government was not part of the solution, then it was part of the problem, Rowley said providing that Government was making the effort that was required that could be determined to be that, then the Government could be part of the problem. But if the Government was making the reasonable effort to fight with the problem than the Government was not part of the problem

He said in recent days there were several murders related to domestic situations. He said while these formed part of the statistics, the role of the Government in those specific circumstance eliminating those incidents was minimal, but did form part of the societal problem.

"My message is not to the women, but to the men. I would want to appeal to the males of the nation to have an expectation that all our women require the love you have for your mother and your sister, and that should start with respect. If you think along those lines then you would want to stay away from treating with domestic failures by violent responses.

"I would like to appeal to the men of TT, if your relationship is going bad, focus on the pleasant memories of when the relationship was good and wish your partner well, especially when there are children in the mix. That should guide you away from the horrendous violence that these men mete out to these women."

Rowley said it would not be fair to the Government to be measured by this situation that did not arise overnight.

"It is not a feature of this administration, not a feature of TT. Crime and criminality as a responsibility of the Government of TT, the Caribbean is going to remain a major focus. While we would not have eliminated or reduced murders, there are a lot of other things the Government has been successful at."

He said this country's inability to carry out the death penalty is that there are two cultures here.

" There is a culture in Britain that is opposed to the death penalty and there is a culture in TT that is extremely violent where the population requires that the death penalty on the books of the law of TT be carried out, but the process of getting it done, there are obstacles along the way. Even when the process should be advanced there are people who are taking decisions which can only have the effect of delaying the process and that is where the cultural problem exists."

Rowley said the shutting down of Petrotrin was not a decision made overnight, but took 18 months of investigative work. He said it gave the country the benefit of a restructured company which took TT out of an annual $2.7 billion annual debt.

He said there was nothing political about the decision, but a case of straight survival.

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