Watts will not absolve students for poor conduct, but blames Administration for reckless implementation of marijuana law

Algernon “Serpent” Watts, the United Progressive Party (UPP) Candidate for St. George, says he is not blaming the partial decriminalization of marijuana for the behaviour of many school children; but he believes the Gaston Browne Administration was reckless in its implementation of the law.

Complaints have been widespread among educators and parents about the increased and wanton use of marijuana on the school plant, even as drug paraphernalia, such as scissors and wrappers –prohibited items on the school compound – are being confiscated.

Principals and teachers have also complained about the heightened disrespect by students and their violent behaviour.

Watts says he has witnessed young people using the drug in public spaces, but will not debate the claim that its use is causing students to act more violently.

He notes that proponents of the drug would say it is a calming substance, while others have disagreed, calling marijuana a gateway drug for more powerful and harmful substances.

But in reference to the drug problem highlighted at the St. Mary’s Secondary School, the Candidate says he is not equipped to speak about the impact of marijuana on younger minds.

Watts says the Browne Administration is concerned only about retaining power at any cost. And he accuses the political directorate of decriminalizing marijuana to win votes among the Rastafarian community and young men, in particular, who smoke the drug.

He says the Administration did not stop to think that certain safeguards should be put in place, first, to protect the youth.