This week our focus will be on how one “spliff” (Cannabis) caused an incident filled with so much sadness that will not go away anytime soon for the Regis family and neighbours in Fontenoy. While Cannabis continues to be an illegal drug, mixed signals continue to be sent. On any given day young people are encouraged to smoke the herb by the music the Disc Jockies play even on radio programmes, T-Shirts and caps and other subtle advertisements. So it is now an accepted norm to see young people, as young as nine-years-old, smoking Cannabis in plain sight of other people who will not discourage them from the illegal act. Even the Prime Minister said that it is a waste of time by the Police to go after a man with “one spliff”.
As we examine the beginning, we understand that a young man (a swimming coach) was on his way to work while he smoked a “spliff”. Unfortunately he was spotted by the Police on duty in the area and a chase began. There are reports that the coach tripped and fell to the ground and it was while lying there that he was shot in his arm and taken to the General Hospital. It is still not clear as to whether he was charged, but this newspaper learnt that he was released from the hospital after being treated for a few days.
Meanwhile the shooting incident was apparently too much for his father to bear as he exhibited tears while speaking in local news. The pain he endured over his son being shot by Police while lying on the ground seemed to have brought on sheer psychological and mental torture that allegedly tossed a loving father into a state on insanity. On Friday October 30 he decided “vengeance is mine.”
He must have eaten, dressed and even took a bus to town that day while his mind was set on one thing –to take revenge on the Police. That visit to town was the last day he lived as he staged a knife attack on Police Officers on duty. Two Officers received stab wounds serious enough to be hospitalised. One local newscast revealed that the father bumped into the back of a female Officer who turned around only to receive some serious wounds from what looked like a six-inch blade. As she fell to the ground another Officer ran to her rescue but he too was chopped. It was the intervention of a third Officer that brought the situation under control. It was reported that a race ensued as he was chased by the father. However, after a while the Officer turned around and shot him and he fell to the ground; he was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. The incident occurred about 12:45 pm at Young Street, Saint George’s.
Another incident where the pain a parent had to bear after the brutal death of her son was unbearable, is the Oscar Bartholomew case which was mentioned as people discussed last Friday’s event. It is alleged that Oscar who was in Grenada on vacation from Canada, was beaten to death by Police Officers in the Saint David Police Station. After a call for justice by the family which seems farfetched, his mother allegedly committed suicide as she was found hanging by the neck from a tree near her home. While the events may have something in common, there are some differences.
The coach has lost his father, a fact he now must live with. Grenada is mourning with his family; but shouldn’t this serve as a reminder that there are consequences that one must bear for negligent behavior? All this started with smoking “one spliff” in public which is illegal. No matter how much spin is being put on the issue, Cannabis is still an illegal drug in Grenada. It’s too bad that the young man had to learn that the hard way. As a coach who comes into contact with young people, he must use the opportunity to be a better man by teaching them to obey the law. He could also be a mentor to secondary school students. To those who refer to Cannabis as a herb from God, let’s remember that we are also taught that God made the world and ALL therein, both good and bad.