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Operation Vincy Pac’s goal was to eradicate foreigners, not destroy marijuana – Gonsalves

Operation Vincy Pac’s goal was to eradicate   foreigners, not destroy marijuana – Gonsalves


Leader of the Unity Labour Party (ULP) Dr Ralph Gonsalves said while some persons are still unhappy with the 2009 special operations called Vincy Pac, he has made it clear that the exercise was done mainly for the purpose of ridding the hills of foreigners {{more}}and not for the eradication of marijuana.

“I want to talk to you about ganja. I know that because of Vincy Pac in 2009, there are some people who say Ralph was too hard on the ganja man them,” the Prime Minister told supporters on Sunday, at a campaign rally in the North Leeward town of Chateaubelair.

Operation Vincy Pac saw the arrest of 30 persons, the seizure of 12 firearms and 395 rounds of ammunition. The operation also resulted in the confiscation of 8.5 million marijuana plants and 7.3 million seedlings. Three men were also killed by police during the month-long operation.

The Vincy Pac exercise also involved members of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force and the Regional Security Services (RSS).

Gonsalves, who is also the Minister of National Security, said when the police went to the hills, they did not destroy marijuana plants.

“The police went up in the hills and didn’t cut down ganja, because they had already reaped. What we wanted was to have the foreigners who are up there to come down. That’s what we did. By doing that, the foreigners came down.

“We had a St Lucian man who was in the back of Fancy [at a place] called Copper Hole. He was behaving as though he was a king kong up there. But he can’t be a king kong in our country.

“In Vermont, there were two persons from outside of St Vincent. One of them who got killed where he shoot out with the police and he was wanted for murder in Barbados. The gun found there was the gun wha’ he had used in a murder in Barbados,” Gonsalves added.

“You can’t elect us to deal with that kind of serious criminal activity and be against when we go and take steps. If he wants to grow ganja, grow ganja in Barbados. If the St Lucia man want grow ganja, grow it in St Lucia,” Gonsalves said.

The ULP leader has been vocal on the issue on decriminalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Gonsalves said since taking office in March 2001, no American helicopters have come here to spray any marijuana.

He said within two weeks of coming to office, the officer at the American Embassy in Barbados, who was responsible for the eradication of marijuana in the Eastern Caribbean, came to see him and wanted to know if by the end of April they were going to allow the Americans to carry out an eradication exercise, as was agreed with then Prime Minister, Arnhim Eustace, leader and president of the New Democratic Party (NDP).

“I said, ‘Your Excellency, I have just come to office; I don’t even know the geography about my office; well, you talking to me about bringing helicopters.’

“I wrote to him and told him that I want to know the nature of the chemical substance which they were using and spraying and damage which they created, I wanted them to give compensation for the damage,” Gonsalves stated.

He said he received a response to his letter, stating that the Government owed money for the last eradication exercise.

“I just ignore the bill. I wanted to explain that to you all and it is Ralph and the ULP who have asked for the establishment of the Caribbean Marijuana Commission on which there are two representatives – Justice Bruce-Lyle and Kishore Shallow, head of the cricket association,” Gonsalves said.