JIS News

Minister of State in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Senator Floyd Morris has said that in order for the abuse of illicit drugs to cease, the demand cycle must be broken.
He was giving the keynote address at the opening ceremony for a Joint Research Symposium and Regional Meeting of National Drug Councils, being hosted by the CARICOM Secretariat in collaboration with the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) from November 28 to 30, at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort, in Montego Bay.
Senator Morris partially attributed the level of use and abuse of drugs now being experienced in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean to the levels of stress and psychological trauma that regional peoples have undergone and continue to experience, because of their ancestral history.
“The truth is that, that psychological trauma has lingered and is passed on to us today. It is like poverty, it’s an inter-generational cycle. it just trickles down from generation to generation,” he said.
Linking this to the economic challenges that he said the majority of Caribbean people had to face daily, Senator Morris noted that there were three fundamental issues that must be dealt with to address stress levels associated with psychological trauma. These, he said, included education, family values, and respect for the individual at the national and regional levels.
“It’s going to require a fundamentally different approach to how we treat our people who are poor and dispossessed,” he emphasized, in putting forward suggestions as to how the issue of respect for the individual should be dealt with.
Speaking on the issue of family values, Senator Morris lamented the fact that there was no father figure in many homes, and called for measures to be put in place to support these families. Such assistance, he said, would assist in the socialization process of the children. He further expressed the view that strong family networks with strong family values in Jamaica would help to significantly reduce crime levels.
In underscoring the importance of education in the socialization process of individuals, the State Minister called for the strengthening of the education process. “I support wholeheartedly the measures by the government to reform the education system in Jamaica,” he said.
He stated that the reform must take place within a context where all the stakeholders felt deserving. Senator Morris said education up to the secondary level should be compulsory, and that it should be mandatory for parents to attend Parent Teachers Association meetings.
“The reason why I have to stress the value and the importance of education, is because it has the potential of transforming the coarsest of individual, into a refined soul, and restore the dignity of that individual,” he said.
Senator Morris stated that if these issues were not adequately addressed, thereby helping to break the demand cycle for drugs, then drug use and its associated criminal activity would not decrease.
Delegates representing some 25 regional drug councils are attending the three-day symposium.