EDITORIAL: Seize drug lords’ fortunes
NO RIGHT-THINKING Barbadian would disagree with Minister of Industry Donville Inniss that drug lords must be rooted out of this country. They do nothing other than place a scourge on society by creating havoc and pain in their quest for material gain.
But it must be understood that Mr Inniss’ wish will need lots of muscle behind it in order to succeed. There have been similar calls previously, but little has been achieved as the drug lords have peddled influence to spread their evil.
They have attained many of their goals, ranging from seeking market dominance to destruction of innocent minds and corruption of morals.
The negative impact of the illegal drugs trade is evident for all Barbadians to see. It has affected both men and women, young and old, torn families apart, and strained the physical and human resources at the Psychiatric Hospital and drug treatment facilities. Many addicts now make themselves nuisances in Bridgetown.
Unless Barbados takes a tough stand similar to some Asian countries, it will not stop the flow of illegal drugs in this society. The incessant demand for supplies of mind-bending illegal substances is evident by the risks taken daily by local growers, street peddlers and in-bound smugglers trying to get their products onto the market despite efforts by law enforcement to thwart such illegal activities. Simply filling Dodds prison, primarily with abusers, is clearly not the solution.
Barbados must not blindly follow those countries which have developed huge consumer markets for all types of illegal drugs and have legalised these substances.
Until there is empirical evidence of the medicinal benefits of all drugs and the correct dosages in which they can be prescribed, then there must be caution in usage. Unlike some countries which may look at the economic advantage of exporting illegal drugs, there is none for Barbados.
Part of the solution to this country’s illegal drug problem must be seizure of the assets of the drug lords. All arms of the law must pursue these drug bosses and their maze of lucrative businesses in which they hide and divert their ill-gotten gains. This may be a much more devastating and telling blow than trying to wipe out the products.
The disruption of the financial inflows and confiscation of these illegally achieved fortunes is a method our justice system must pursue. We must be able to track who sends, how much money, and to whom, and all of these must explain the source of all their funds.
Law enforcers must be aware of the major players. After all, many citizens can speak of them, even if only in whispers.
Barbados must not give in to narco-criminals or those who try to shelter them. The entire country must not be put at risk.