On Thursday evening, 28 June at the Institute Jean Margeot in Rose-Hill, Alain Ah-Vee of LALIT was amongst the political party leaders to speak on proposals for a State drugs policy. This was at a “Round Table” organized by CUT (Collectif d’Urgence Toxida). Each party representative was asked to present their party manifesto. So, instead of being a “round table”, it was eight speeches of 7-minutes each, where the speaker went up to the microphone alone. Afterwards the speakers all went up to the front, and sat facing the audience for “questions and answers”, which turned out, instead to be serial speeches. The event was not public, but rather by invitation, and the formula was “consensual”, curtailing proper inter-active debate and limiting any confrontational criticism of those in Government imposing the strategy of repression right now.
The event was presided jointly by Kunal Naick, Dany Philippe and Nicolas Ritter. The other speakers, as well as Alain, were Veda Baloomoody (MMM), Joe Lesjongard (MSM), Alan Ganoo and Tania Diolle (MP), Ian Jacob(RA), Ashwin Gudday (MPM), Arvind Boolell (of Labour, but not mandated), Roshi Bhadain (Reform Party).
Before the debate a short film, Support Don’t Punish! was projected. The speakers from some of the mainstream parties may have been taken aback by the film’s critique of repression, judging by the fact that none of them proposed a resort to repression, or to more repression, for the drugs problem, which is often their baseline demand. The MMM, MSM and MP were evasive on the issue of de-criminalization of cannabis, except for medical use. The MSM representative did not really support the Government’s campaign for increasing repression.
It was generally agreed that LALIT is the party with the longest and most consistent history of opposing repression over drug use and abuse. Alain Ah-Vee gave an outline of our position from 1980, the Peoples’ Health manifesto and the booklet on Drugs (1986), and the Charter LALIT spearheaded in 2006, and right up to our 2015 A Bilingual LALIT Book on the Drugs Issue.