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UK wants no role in Caribbean ganja debate

Monday, April 21, 2014    

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CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC) — The visiting British High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean says the United Kingdom does not have any role to play in the ongoing marijuana debate in the Caribbean

"It's not a debate that we have a role to play in although I know that it is raging wildly around the region," High Commissioner Victoria Dean told reporters here.

Dean said she understood that there are different arguments at stake, with some people believing that marijuana can make an important contribution to the region.

However, she said it is an issue that needs to "run its course" in the Caribbean with "the right local players".

Asked whether the final decision could affect the UK's continuing contribution to helping to fight crime and effecting judicial reform in the region, Dean said whatever course is decided upon is one that the UK will have to respond to as it continues to work with the Caribbean in tackling crime, counter-narcotics and issues of a judicial nature.

"We are absolutely in tandem with the governments of the region, so this isn't something we do on our own because it has a direct impact on countries in the region and a direct impact on the UK shores as well, so we would like to work along with the governments on any decision that they make," the British diplomat said.

Last month, Caribbean Community (Caricom) leaders announced that they were creating a regional commission to analyse the possibility of legalising marijuana.

The announcement followed a two-day summit in which they discussed a preliminary report that found decriminalising medical marijuana could help boost the region's economy.

St Lucia's Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony has said that his administration cannot, at this point, take a position for or against the legalisation of marijuana. "It can't be a yes or a no now, but equally we must be open to the findings of the commission," he said.

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