Ganja smoking shows contempt of court
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Much has been made about the Government of Jamaica's commitment to the rule of law in its relations with the international community. While our commitment to the international community is admirable, it is disingenuous to parade ourselves as obeying international laws when we ignore our own laws at home.
Every day, there are new instances of the chipping away of the fabric of our civil society. The dwindling of a society of law and social order takes place as much within the halls of government as it does on the streets. When government sanctions allows or partakes in law-breaking, it delegitimatises the very Constitution its members swore to uphold.
It contributes to an unfortunate trend of backwardness and social decline and takes away their moral authority to police the very laws they swore to uphold.
The frequency with which prisoners smoke ganja in the cell downstairs the Supreme Court building drew sharp criticism from a senior judge recently. It was reported that it is something that happens regularly. This was happening right under the judges' noses!
With much audacity, the smokers inhaled and puffed. This should never have happened, but since it did, it should only have happened once. It befuddles my mind that this incident is just something that happens all the time!
Smoking in a government-owned and -occupied building is in breach of regulations, with heavy penalties. The Supreme Court building is also an enclosed place.
In Jamaica, we want to protect some folks who steal electricity. We turn a blind eye to breaches of the Noise Abatement Act. We do not prohibit smoking in an enclosed government building and the smoking of an illegal substance by prisoners is allowed.
We cannot be serious about finding overseas partners for economic growth and development when we allow our laws to be shamelessly broken inside one of the highest halls of government and justice.
SANDRA M. TAYLOR