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Steer clear of illegal marijuana trade – Deputy COP

Steer clear of illegal marijuana trade – Deputy COP

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This country’s youth have been warned to steer clear of the illegal marijuana trade, which is extremely dangerous and a lot of hard work.

The words of advice came from Collin John, this country’s Deputy Commissioner of Police, as he delivered the feature address at the closing ceremony of the annual Police Band Summer Programme on August 24.

Addressing a filled to capacity conference hall at the Old Montrose Police Station, John, once a member of the anti-narcotics squad, discouraged students from looking for the easy way out by becoming involved in illegal activity, specifically, the drug trade.{{more}}

The experienced police officer told persons that while a narcotics officer, he interacted with a number of drug traffickers and as a result, learnt a lot about the trade. John stressed that marijuana farming is a hard job. He said that the crop cannot be grown in low lying areas and persons usually have to trek through mountainous and treacherous terrain to find proper planting ground.

Apart from that, said John, heavy bags of manure have to be taken into the mountains from places like the river bed in Richmond to the mountains. He added that more work comes when the plants, usually numbering in the hundreds, reach a certain age, and the male plants have to be separated from the female plants, as the buds from the female plants is what is sought after for marijuana cigarettes.

In addition to that, said the deputy commissioner, persons can lose an entire crop through the action of thieves, who sometimes reap the crop before the planters are able to.

John also spoke about tough living conditions, with persons using tarpaulins as makeshift tents. He said that a former classmate of his died after contracting bronchitis while living in the hills.

“Selling is again an issue, because persons have told me when they go to Barbados, they can’t go ashore and the boatman will leave you off and you have to swim.” John said that persons who are not good swimmers would sometimes use a bale of marijuana as a flotation device.

“Some persons don’t make it back. If they sell to ships out at sea, the persons sometimes would hand over money and act as pirates and rob and people sometimes get killed,” he declared.

John noted also that if a drug dealer is lucky enough to get paid and accumulate great wealth, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) can seize money if a proper source of income cannot be declared.

“Even if you were not arrested for drugs, once you accumulate wealth, under the civil forfeiture act, the FIU can take your house worth let’s says EC$450,000, if there is no gainful employment,” explained John while stressing to the youngsters, “crime does not pay”.

He said that being a part of the Police Youth Summer Programme, participants were equipped with a tool to make a legal and long lasting living.

“I am encouraging you to utilize this tool and other legal means and stay away from a life of crime and go down the right path,” stressed John.

“I hope that we impacted positively on them and it would have a lasting effect and SVG would be a better place because of the gesture we undertook,” said John of the programme which was introduced in 2008 under commissioner of police Keith Miller.

He noted that the programme aims to impart knowledge of music and other areas that can benefit the youths for life. He encouraged parents to purchase instruments for their children, if they can, as music is a good avenue for personal development and independence.

John also encouraged students to heed good advice and obey parents and teachers. “In my years I have seen people disobedient and die at young ages,” stressed John.

Also addressing the gathering was head of the police band Inspector Daniel Hall. Inspector Hall said that the eighth summer programme this year attracted 116 persons and ran for five weeks.

Students were taught how to play the saxophone, clarinet, trumpet, keyboard, drums, steel pan and the guitar. At the closing ceremony the participants performed a number of musical renditions with the instruments they learnt to play.(LC)

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