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Posted: Wednesday 15 February, 2017 at 6:00 AM

Brantley calls NRP’s bluff on decriminalising marijuana

(L-R) Leader of the Nevis Reformation Party and former Premier of Nevis the Hon. Joseph Parry and Deputy Premier of Nevis the Hon. Mark Brantley.
By: Terresa McCall,

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – DEPUTY PREMIER of Nevis the Hon. Mark Brantley has called out the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP), describing the expressed plans of its leaders to decriminalize marijuana as a red herring.


    Sometime last year, the NRP’s Hensley Daniel was quoted by the St. Kitts-Nevis Observer as indicating that if they win the 2018 Local Elections, the NRP would decriminalize marijuana.


    Party leader and former Premier of Nevis the Hon. Joseph Parry, recently indicated to SKNVibes that the party has already begun the consultation process regarding decriminalisation of ‘the herb’.


    Appearing on WINNFM 98.9’s ‘Voices’ programme yesterday (Feb. 14) however, Brantley explained that the Nevis Island Administration – which the NRP is seeking to lead – does not have the authority to decriminalize marijuana.


    “There is an element of hypocrisy that attends this particular debate. I appreciate that an election in Nevis is due, I believe by April 2018. And I appreciate that our opponents in Nevis, political opponents, are seeking to marshal their slender resources at this point, and seeking to keep together the very small support that they now enjoy on the island.


    “And so they are going out there - for example - and throwing issues out there. For example, suggesting that somehow the Nevis Island Assembly in the Nevis Island Administration has the authority to legalise or decriminalise marijuana. That’s a red herring! Legally, they cannot do it. And so to tell people that that is what you intend to do is grossly misleading. You are misleading the electorate and misleading the people.”


    Brantley questioned the NRP’s rational behind making the promise given that it cannot legally be fulfilled.


    “And these are the hard questions that need to be put. How could you promise – and you have a campaign on a platform of legalsing or decriminalising marijuana - when you have no legal or constitutional authority to do so?”


    Talk of the decriminalisation of cannabis sativa has been making its rounds within the Federation, the region and the international community, with a number of countries – as well as states within the United States of America - decriminalising its use.


    In the Caribbean, Jamaica has taken that step as other territories continue to ventilate the issue.


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