Associates of opposition leader, Dr. Denzil Douglas, run afoul of the law

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, May 13, 2019 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – The unpatriotic and self-serving nature of Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Denzil Douglas, is again being called into question by citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis, after two of his business associates were last week arrested in connection with the importation of a controlled drug.

Mr. Alkiviades “Alki” David, was arrested by the Anti-Narcotics Unit at the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport and was charged with Possession with Intent to Supply, Possession of Controlled Drugs and Importation of a Controlled Drug into the Federation after a search of his private plane by customs authorities.

He is expected to appear at the Basseterre Magistrate Court on Tuesday, May 14.

In his Ministerial Statement to the National Assembly on Thursday, May 09, Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, warned the nation then that “certain international business predators and pirates, aided by unsavoury local elements,” are positioning themselves to venture into plant cultivation, to the detriment of locals.

Dr. Douglas, who has been pictured in a widely publicized photograph with Mr. Alki David and Mr. Chase Ergen, is said to have partnered with the international businessman to secure an unfair advantage over locals from the setting up of a potential marijuana industry in St. Kitts and Nevis.

A press release issued on behalf of Mr. David and Swiss labs, a company that specializes in products containing CBD (cannabidiol), confirmed that “Former PM Denzil Douglas is working closely with us” in undertaking cannabis production in the Federation.

Irrespective of their intentions, Prime Minister Harris reaffirmed that “non-nationals would not be permitted to secure advantages over nationals of our Federation as we set about to build out a marijuana industry.”

Furthermore, while Mr. David contends that there is “no legal framework” for cultivating cannabis in St. Kitts and Nevis, highly regarded and independent Queen’s Council, Dr. Henry Browne, is of a different view.

Dr. Browne weighed in on the matter in a recent article published on the St. Kitts-Nevis Observer website, in which he stated that, “The mere possession of marijuana seeds is not a crime. What is a crime is to have the seeds and to come to an agreement to plant the seeds. Planting the seeds for the purpose of cultivation is a crime.”

He added that, “It is also illegal to conspire to plant or cultivate marijuana. Having agreed to take a step towards cultivation of marijuana, you have created an offence.”

The Queen’s Counsel further stated that the law of St. Kitts and Nevis does not make any distinction between marijuana or cannabis plants or between plants that contain THC, one of the active ingredients of marijuana, and those that do not.

Dr. Browne said, “THC does not matter. You would only know that after the plant is grown and you test the plant. The mere possession of the marijuana plant is illegal.”

At last Thursday’s (May 09) Sitting of the National Assembly, Prime Minister Harris moved the first reading of the Cannabis Bill, 2019, which provides for the regulation and control of cannabis for religious use, by documented members of registered religious organizations, to uphold the constitutional rights afforded to each citizen of Saint Christopher and Nevis, to establish the Saint Christopher and Nevis Medicinal Cannabis Authority whose functions will be described herein, to authorize medicinal and alternative health practitioners to recommend medicinal cannabis, to establish scientific research protocol for medicinal cannabis, and to establish a licensing structure and complete tracking system for medicinal cannabis businesses.

Dr. Harris said that until the Cannabis Bill becomes law, the extant laws of the land remain the same.

Alki David (left) pictured with Denzil Douglas (center) and Chase Ergen (right) on the tarmac in St. Kitts.
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