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‘Look again at drugs fight’


rhondathompson, [email protected]

‘Look again at drugs fight’

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Bermuda High Court judge Carlisle Greaves has suggested the Caribbean region should consider a different approach to dealing with the problem of illegal drugs.The Barbadian-born judge, who presided over the Caribbean’s first drug treatment court in Bermuda, told the SUNDAY SUN: “The focus that we have had over the years on criminalising the whole thing, and the whole thing of crime and punishment, it is arguable that it has failed and maybe the approach should be different.”Speaking during an interview while on holiday in Barbados recently, the judge said the “drug thing” was going to be “attractive to people for a long time, because we may think that it is beneficial to many and many will ask why not”.In a guarded response to a question about the whole problem of drugs in the Caribbean, Greaves remarked, “There are some views on it that I will not express now as a sitting judge. Maybe one of these days when I am not a sitting judge I may have different views to express.”“But it is an interesting dilemma that the world has found itself in, and I think the techniques that we are using, there is no question about it that we have failed.”He noted places like California in the United States were taking “a different approach” to the problem and “you have to wait and see whether that will fail”. He also cited the Netherlands, which he said had taken “one approach that one may argue failed too”.“I think we have to spend a lot more time on education, education, education,” Greaves said. And he wondered whether it was not wiser to spend the money on education than on interdiction. “These are questions that you have got to ask. The problem in these small states is that I don’t think we can do anything different until the big states say yeah,” Greaves stated.Focusing on sentencing options in the Bermuda and Barbados jurisdictions, Greaves argued that in today’s world courts must have wide sentencing powers in order to meet the challenges.Though the death penalty and corporal punishment were outlawed in Bermuda, he said there remained “wide sentencing powers” both at the level of magistrates and at Supreme Court level.But he contended alternatives to incarceration could not work for everything. “The reality is that there are some people that can be treated in the society to operate all right in the society, and there are some people that the taxpayers must be prepared to keep out of the society . . . some people are just that wicked [that] you have to take them out.” (GC)

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