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Trinidad and Tobago: No Crime Plan Without Legalising Drugs
Marijuana
By Leanna Ganga
Trinidad and Tobago
April 18, 2017


Imagine a society where all drugs are legal and persons can openly purchase any drug of their choice from licensed and regulated distributors, just like they already purchase cigarettes and alcohol.

One may think of such a society in a state of what sociologists call anomie and deviance, with lots of intoxicated people committing criminal acts and the majority of citizens being addicts. This thinking, however, would be inaccurate.

Empirical evidence demonstrates human societies have always had cultures of intoxication and used mild to strong hallucinogens. For example, from ancient civilizations to pre-20th century USA, and even pre-1960 Trinidad, the evidence shows that marijuana/ganja was used for recreational, medicinal, religious and other purposes. Dr. Peter Hanoomansingh, for example, documented a time in Trinidad and Tobago when you could still buy ganja over the counter. In these eras, there is strong evidence that we did not have societies plagued by violence, corruption and other drug-related problems, which many researchers indicate is a direct consequence of the war on drugs.

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Trinidad and Tobago: The Pope and the Pan
Steelpan
Challenging Caribbean Inferiority and Cultural Prostitution

By Ras Tyehimba
August 07, 2013


There was a picture recently of Pope Francis playing the Steelpan next to T&T president Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona who presented it to him as a gift. This picture was published by the media, several Steelpan websites and has made its way around various social media platforms. One website exclaimed: "Truly a great day for our nation and our national instrument! The pope is a Trini now!" Another Steelpan website expressed, "Steelpan is the sweetest!! Just ask the Pope."

As the only musical instrument of the 20th century and as what I consider to be one of the greatest inventions of the Caribbean region it makes sense for the pan to be a gift to persons and nations that Trinidad and Tobago interacts with. However, the power of the Steelpan is not just about the sweet music it produces, but also about how it was created. The Steelpan emerged from the most disenfranchised and looked-down elements of society. It is these grassroots, mainly Afro-Trinidadian sections of society who had been most affected by the structures of colonial society in which legitimacy and social status was defined by race, skin colour, class and acceptance of the Christian religion.

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