LEADER of the National Green Party Andre de Caires is appealing to the Philip J Pierre administration to end the defense of the constitutional claim against the Government of Saint Lucia regarding the rights of citizens to use cannabis.
De Caires wants the new administration to drop the case entirely hereby indicating its campaign promise of legalization to be sincere. He said there is a clear pathway to legalization outlined in several reports and documents and that the legislation has been sitting on the Attorney General’s desk since December 2020.
The case was down to be heard yesterday however it was adjourned for this afternoon. The claim was filed last year but was adjourned several times.
According to de Caires, the previous administration was prepared to challenge the claim, a move that questioned its sincerity to legalization.
“Why would one spend time and money defending this constitutional claim when one has indicated that full legalization was the plan?” questioned De Caires.
“There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, time is of the essence. Our recommendations remain the same that is to take in a phased in approach; phase one is the decriminalization and this is to be done as soon as possible a move made by at least eight other CARICOM territories and this would include the removal of cannabis from Schedule 2, Section A in the Misuse of Drugs Act,’ De Caires said.
He wants all prisoners at Bordelais who are incarcerated solely for cannabis crimes to be released. He also wants the removal of cannabis crimes from all police records and an apology to those who have been brutalized, discriminated against, unfairly incarcerated and sometimes murdered because of cannabis and to register the cannabis cooperative THC.
Phase 2, he said, will include the scrutiny of the present legislation by the new attorney general followed by stakeholder consultations, the application of any necessary amendments and finally the presentation of the bill to parliament.
“There’s still time left for Saint Lucia to lead the rest of CARICOM in this multi-billion dollar industry as our model is the most fair and progressive model in the entire CARICOM. We hope that this administration does right by its people,” De Caires said.