Good Day, Bermuda,

Less than one month after the son of an OBA MP ‘stumbled’ on the good fortune of having ‘no evidence offered ‘ for marijuana possession charges,  OBA MP for St George’s West,  Nandi Outerbridge, seems now reluctant to help amend the law (Misuse of Drugs Act) to afford ordinary young Bermudians the same ‘social’ treatment.

Let me take a few moments to educate both the Bermudian public and MP Outerbridge on the issues at hand.

MP Outerbridge states:

 “In December, National Security Minister Michael Dunkley was approached by two individuals separately who wanted to be
involved in the discussion.”

Perhaps MP Outerbridge forgets that the official OBA release read as
follows: “At the request of the Minister of National Security, the Hon Michael H Dunkley, JP, MP, on 5 December, 2013, a collaborative group began meeting to produce a paper on cannabis policy reform.”

So either MP Outerbridge is confused, or she has not been informed as to who set up the Cannabis Reform Committee. The press release makes its clear that the CRC was an OBA requested committee.

“This PLP Bill is reckless”.

With regard to the Thomas Moniz case for simple possession, and that a similar case had different results in the same week, it is time that we as parliamentarians look to levelling the playing field. 

We need to amend the existing law that promotes equality across the board regardless of economic status, race, gender, political or social affiliations. By making the proposed changes to de-penalize a certain amount of cannabis, we hope amongst other things to:

Alleviate the strain on the police which would allow them to investigate more serious crime, when the majority of drug crime on island relates to cannabis seizures and arrests.

• Seek to prohibit the number of citizens being put on a United States Immigration Stop List. 

“If we are going to do something…it’s got to be the result of a sincere and comprehensive national conversation”.

MP Outerbridge speaks of the need to have a ‘public debate’ over the marijuana issue. Yet she remained silent when the OBA had zero public debate over the following issues:

The Removal of Term Limits.

• The Attempted Closure of the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre (this one in particular impacted her constituents directly).

• The Reversal on the Holding of the Referendum on Gaming.

Yet now we must debate?

Maternal morals

Let me be clear, I DO NOT condone the use of marijuana. I preach to my children daily about the ill effects of all drugs. 

However, if person A is found in possession of X grams of marijuana and person B the same X grams, their treatment should be equal. 

The mention of 20 grams in the Bill presented to the press by Senator Marc Daniels was not pulled from out of a hat. It is the current standard used to determine whether one is charged with mere possession, or possession with intent to supply. As the ‘Opposition’, we are limited to what we can introduce in the way of legislation. 

Revenue streams and related matters can only be introduced by the ‘Government’. I get the feeling that had these amendments been produced from the OBA, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. 

Equal rights

Equal rights and justice should not be cliché. 

In this day and time we should not have such clear examples of inequality depending on whose child it may be.  

As a mother I support the draft bill produced by Senator Marc Daniels, on the basis that it will enhance the principals of ‘equality and justice‘ for all Bermudian children, not only the privileged few.  

Please let me know your thoughts. I can be contacted through email at raming@plp.bm Senator Renee Ming.