US, Dudus and the law
The Editor, Sir:
Like so many Jamaicans, I too have unanswered questions concerning the 'Dudus' Coke affair, together with related issues and do seek informed answers from our legal minds. My understanding is that Coke is sought by the Americans for gun-running and drugs.
1. America is a country where the right to manufacture, trade and bear arms is constitutionally entrenched. But Jamaicans suffer because of that right. Shouldn't those small economies who suffer at the hands of these manufacturers and peddlers of evil unite to denounce the anomaly here? And couldn't there be a case at the highest international court against the manufacturers of these arms, who hide behind their constitu-tion but unscrupulously sell to any and everybody? (I say that cognisant of persons like the one in Florida that the Jamaican police tried to buy ammunition from about two years ago?) Further, if the Americans had put better restrictions on their arms trade, Coke (if found guilty) and others would not have had access to weapons. My New Year's wish is that the rest of the international community would come to a consensus that America and its constitutional right are self-maiming and, worse, are killing us off as well.
2. America grows more marijuana than everywhere else. Some states have decriminalised it and others allow people to buy 'medical marijuana'. In Jamaica, the Rastafarians grow it and use it as their sacrament. But they are Jamaicans and are protected by our laws. Some European countries have decriminalised it. The main international issue seem to be neither ethical nor moral, but cross-border trading.
Consider this hypothesis. If a trade deal in tobacco/marijuana cigarettes or by-products were struck between say, Jamaica and those European countries or California, who would Washington or Brussels interdict at sea? How do we reconcile between the implicit issues? And if we could answer this definitively, shouldn't the interdictors first fight among themselves? Washington vs California - maybe? Brussels vs Netherlands?
I trust that the arguments may advance the philosophy and inequity of international trade. And, lest we wonder, I have never handled the stuff. My eyes water and I cough when I smell it. More-over, as a Christian, I loathe illicit drugs and really do hope that all Jamaicans will find the way out of its entrapment. But I cannot ignore the multilateral double standards to which our world has succumbed. Have a happy New Year.
I am, etc.,
DR STEAD M WILLIAMS