Pryce: Jamaica's image suffering over ganja spliff death
JAMAICA's image is taking a beating over the controversial death of construction worker Mario Deane while in custody at the Barnett Street Police Station, St James, where he was being held for a ganja spliff.
"You would not believe the amount of e-mails I have received from across the globe regarding the story," said an irate Raymond Pryce, the St Elizabeth North Eastern Member of Parliament who is at the forefront of efforts to reform Jamaica's ganja laws.
"It matters not that the beating, while incarcerated, was secondary to the charge. The fact that a person was incarcerated for possession simplicita and then denied bail, confirms that this is more of a human rights issue than a prohibition issue," Pryce told the Jamaica Observer.
Pryce joined his parliamentary colleagues, National Security Minister Peter Bunting, Justice Minister Mark Golding, and the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party in calling for an immediate end to arrests of persons caught with a small amount of ganja.
Deane was arrested by cops for possession of a ganja spliff last Sunday in his Rosemount, St James, community and detained at the Barnett Street station. He was subsequently beaten in his cell and died from his injuries at hospital. Police blamed inmates for the beating.
"It is all the more ridiculous that this happened while we are advancing the reform locally of the Dangerous Drugs Act with respect to Cannabis. The atrocity confirms that the underlying class abuse is still prominent and possession of a spliff is the scapegoat 'entry way' to abuse people in society who are not connected to wealth and therefore power," Pryce declared angrily.