Pubdate: Sun, 25 Jun 2006
Source: Jamaica Gleaner, The (Jamaica)
Copyright: 2006 The Gleaner Company Limited
Author: Dawn Ritch
Bookmark: (Marijuana)
Bookmark: (Cocaine)


EVERYBODY IN Jamaica wants Mrs. Portia Simpson Miller to do something
or other. Fire Omar, fire Paulwell, fire Colin, take back the public
service company and the cement company from foreign occupiers, fix the
roads, increase the salaries, lower the taxes, tariffs and tolls,
reduce interest rates, public waste and corruption, and restore the
natural environment.

I just hope Madam Prime Minister doesn't fall into irritation like her
predecessor and start forming committees to address our wrongs, when
she is the one with the constitutional duty to do so. Everybody else's
reports just gather dust.

I'm disappointed, therefore, that she wants the Jamaican Diaspora to
have its own parliamentary committee so that it can have an input in
government policy. Not surprisingly, Opposition Leader Bruce Golding
is trying to claim this idea as his own.

Diaspora's Say

If any body of people should be given a soap box in officialdom it is
the overseas Jamaicans. But since they do charity work in Harlem and
Brixton, they should have the soap box over there and not here. They
should try to influence American and British foreign policy in a
positive way towards the Jamaican people back at home. Instead, the
diaspora wants a say here in Jamaica on the basis of its remittances
to the island.

I doubt that Madam Prime Minister intends to sell us to them, but what
about somebody else? Someone might simply sell us for our weight in
gold to build a stadium, a highway, or an extra territorial court.
This is a form of endless debt bondage upon which we are already well

The task before her, therefore, is to reduce the public debt,
burdensome taxation and refloat the Jamaican economy. That, in my
view, is the only way to balance lives.

He or she governs best who governs least. A flurry of new legislation,
therefore, in the House of Parliament will be the signal that she has
fallen prey to despair. If all the officials of government are seated
around various tables crafting new laws and amendments for enactment,
it will be a sure sign that Mrs. Simpson Miller has lost her way. Her
predecessor was a congenital fiddler, and loved nothing more than
constitutional law. If Madam Prime Minister merely upholds it, the
country will be far better off.

Law must not suit the needs of the prime minister and a tiny elite, it
must suit the needs of predictable and good public order. A rash of
regulations trying to control private behaviour is therefore the
hallmark of a government that has lost its way. As long as the private
lives and habits of people don't frighten the horses, a government has
no business in them. Anything else is not government, but state oppression.

The Jamaica Diaspora is like the illegal drug trade. Nobody is quite
sure how many they are, where they are, or how they can be identified.
If a law can be enacted to give them any kind of role in Parliament,
it seems only fair to repeal our marijuana laws and end the judicial
persecution of small farmers and poor people living in Jamaica. The
latter constantly identify themselves on the television news bemoaning
the state's destruction of yet another crop. This doesn't even call
for a new law, just the repeal of bad law that reflects not the moral
degeneracy of our people, but that of the United States interfering
with the culture, production and economy of the island.

Drug Problem

The world had no drug problem before the 20th century. Busy-body and
interfering legislation primarily in the United States changed all
that. In 1972, United States President Richard Nixon described "drug
abuse (as) the nation's public enemy no. 1," and proposed federal
spending of $600 million for fiscal year 1972 "to battle the drug
problem from poppy grower to pusher." The year before that the House
voted 366 to 0 to authorise "a $1 billion, three-year federal attack
on drug abuse."

Anybody who follows these matters knows that for over 20 years, the
United States' war on drugs has spent untold billions and never won a
single battle, much less the war. When they squeeze one country,
production shifts to another. Not even a combination of all U.S. and
United Kingdom fire power and sanctions will ever vanquish that foe,
for the simple reason that it's a false foe.

No government, no matter how powerful, will ever be able to legislate
self-control in any population in the consumption of narcotics. People
who want it, use it, and they're generally a credit to the human race.

The Sumerians used opium in circa 5000 BC and created a great
civilisation. The Egyptians brewed alcohol and built the Pyramids. The
earliest historical evidence of the eating of poppy seeds was c. 2500
BC among the Lake Dwellers of Switzerland. Today they make the finest
watches in the world.

In 1797, Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote the celebrated poem 'Kubla
Khan' while under the influence of opium. Towards the end of the 19th
century, the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland was opened.
One of its world-famous founders, Dr. William Stewart Halsted, was a
morphine addict. He continued to use morphine in large doses
throughout a phenomenally successful surgical career lasting until his
death in 1922.

It wasn't until 1903 that the composition of Coca-Cola was changed.
Caffeine replaced the cocaine it contained until that time. By 1919,
prohibition of alcohol had been added to the U.S. Constitution. The
following year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture published a
pamphlet urging Americans to grow cannabis (marijuana) as a profitable

Social Legislation

Now it seems they want to outlaw cigarettes and fast food, but not
before trying to beggar them with regulations and litigations. This is
not the country to which we should turn for guidance. Social
legislation seems to be the reason for their existence. But the record
shows they don't know what they're doing from one decade to the next.
If they want to lead their own people around by the nose, and
Americans so consent, that is a matter for them.

U.S. influence, however, has turned the great fortune we have here in
Jamaica of ganja, into a great slavery of prohibition, crime and
poverty. The Roman philosopher and statesman Seneca, once wrote,
"There is no great genius without some touch of madness." We need to
nurture these people, instead of burning their crops and throwing them
into jails already overcrowded with their brethren.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake