February 13, 2009
‘Spirit’ attends global forum in Barcelona

St. Vincent and the Grenadines was one of 50 countries represented at a global forum for producers of crops declared to be illicit.{{more}}

Junior ‘Spirit’ Cottle was invited to the forum, which took place in Barcelona, Spain, from January 29th to 31st, by its organizers.

At the forum, the representatives looked at and discussed the various uses of the marijuana, coca and poppy plants, apart from the production of illegal drugs.

According to Cottle, the conference looked at the traditional and medicinal uses of the plants in the everyday lives of many persons around the world, who would not normally have ready access to modern medicine or products.

He also stated that the forum was in no way in support of the use of these plants for the production of ganja, cocaine or heroin.

He said that at the forum, workshops were held where the participants discussed the socio-economic effects of eradication of these plants, as well as alternative livelihood for persons involved in alternative farming.

Human rights issues related to the growing of the plants were also discussed.

The Senior Community Liason Officer of the Integrated Forest Management and Development Program also made a presentation at the forum.

Cottle said that at the conference a declaration was drafted, which will be taken to a United Nations conference in March this year, where they will call for the UN to relax its stance on the eradication of the plants, and that the medicinal, and traditional uses should be recognized by the international community.

The countries represented at the forum included St. Lucia, Bolivia, Columbia, Cuba, The Netherlands, Morocco and the United States. (JJ)