JIS News

As a result of the Narcotics Division’s success in decreasing the cocaine trade last year, there was an increase in local marijuana (ganja) cultivation.
This was reported to JIS News by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Carlton Wilson, who heads the Narcotics Division of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
“Due to the security issues involved, we find that the drug barons reroute their operations more to the Eastern Caribbean, and therefore we have less cocaine being transshipped out of the country. However, while the cocaine trade has decreased, we are seeing some increase in marijuana seizures, and what we recognize is that there has been more cultivation of marijuana,” ACP Wilson indicated.
He pointed out that in 2007, 490 hectares of marijuana were eradicated, which was a sharp increase from the 2006 figure of 377 hectares.
“The amount of hectares eradicated is attributed to our increased activities out there in the eradication programme. We also combined our efforts with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) because one of our intentions is to go all out in eradicating marijuana,” he emphasized.
Mr. Wilson said that statistics from the Narcotics Division indicate that 98 kilograms of cocaine were seized last year, a decrease from 109 kilograms seized in 2006. According to the Assistant Commissioner, those figures represented a significant reduction when compared with the 1,735 kilograms seized in 2004. Meanwhile, the Narcotics Head has expressed satisfaction with the work being done. “We have had major success in the eradication aspect of things, because we have eradicated more hectares than we usually do and were able to do a lot of things to prevent marijuana from coming into the country. We are also very satisfied with the level of effort we have put out in demand reduction, in terms of sensitizing people about the danger of drugs,” ACP Wilson explained.
He said that the division was expecting more success in 2008, “and that is why we have really stepped up our activities as much as we possibly can. We are looking at a very exciting year and we have already put a number of plans in place.”
“We are going to refocus our attention on demand reduction because we think that if we can sensitize people enough to stay away from drugs, we will have less drug addicts and less people in rehabilitation,” ACP Wilson told JIS News.
He added that a number of initiatives would be put in place, with one being crop substitution.
“The persons who are cultivating marijuana are not the ones getting the big money out of it. They are just doing it for survival,” he noted.
“I think they will shift from the illegal marijuana cultivation and go towards [another crop] as long as it is on par with or more than what they are earning,” ACP Wilson said.

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