Dear Editor,The letter by Timothy Jonas which is captioned “ANUG supports the call for legalisation of marijuana in Guyana,” is highly flawed and unconvincing. Such a call by ANUG (A New and United Guyana) also comes across as an unpatriotic manipulation to attract votes.Flagrantly, ANUG fails to address the scientific influence of this substance on human behavior in the context of a profound lack of education and deep poverty, among a sea of problems in Guyana. In my view, this calculation is a pivotal frame of reference which is critically important to determine whether marijuana is suitable for legalisation at this time in Guyana. Obviously, ANUG remains clueless about the problems associated with marijuana use and misuse, particularly for a country such as Guyana.ANUG needs to be reminded that the social, political and economic dynamics in Guyana are strikingly different from those in Canada and California where marijuana is legalised. The legalisation of this substance in those countries should never be a justification for its legalisation here. Further, ANUG needs to be informed that the recreational use of marijuana remains largely illegal in both the Netherlands and Jamaica.ANUG also needs to be reminded that the legalisation of marijuana will never reduce the prison population in the face of deep poverty in Guyana. Legalisation is guaranteed to produce the opposite effect. At the very least, it can be reasoned that legalisation under current conditions will dramatically send more Guyanese into prison via armed robberies, pickpockets, burglaries and a variety of illegal means simply because unemployed users will need to come up with scarce dollars necessary to purchase such an expensive drug. I just do not see how marijuana can be affordable under conditions of poverty and where unemployment is sky-high. Legalisation under current conditions just does not make any sense. It is simply an insane proposal. At this time, Guyana can’t afford to legalise the recreational use of marijuana.If ANUG seriously cares about the welfare of marijuana users, then it must guide Guyanese to do the right thing by respecting our laws. Discipline is needed. The breaking of our laws directly expands the prison population and none of this is ever acceptable. To this end, Guyana must never rush to legalise marijuana in the absence of the required foundation just to reward those that are hell-bent on breaking our laws, or to reward those who want to profit financially from this drug at the expense of human lives or to reward those that issue hollow calls for votes.Sincerely,Annie Baliram
…airline fares decreased, loans introducedThe Guyana Carnival 2018, an event which at its core is to promote tourism on an international standpoint, is expected to attract some 1500 tourists on a worldwide scope.This announcement was revealed during Hits and Jams Entertainment’s official launch of Guyana Carnival 2018 which was hosted by the Guyana Carnival Committee at the Marriott Hotel, Georgetown.Some of the delegates of the Miss World Pageant 2018, members of the committee and the Guyana rugby teamThe event, which is scheduled to feature 10 days of nonstop activities, is expected to feature a wide variety of events to facilitate the interests of all who are participating. The Committee has emphasised on the significant feedback which they have received from tourists, who have already made their bookings and the sponsors which will lead the activities on a promotional aspect.The Private Sector driven initiative is expected to compliment Guyana’s Independence celebrations while breathing a different vibe and also serving as a major revenue earner that will benefit business enterprises of all descriptions.This was revealed by the Chairman of the Committee, Bobby Vieira, who noted that the introduction of Carnival is “simply to add another festival to the annual calendar of events in order to promote tourism, entertainment and awareness of locals, members of the Diaspora and visitors to enjoy while we commemorate our Independence anniversary”.“Our team is excited to be able to boost our country both economically and socially. This is a grand opportunity for locals to enjoy an international carnival as well as the local service industries to profit,” Vieira added.He noted that the rates being offered are calculated to be low or equivalent to the prices at other regional and international carnivals. Prices for accommodation and other expenditures have also been lowered by the respective entities.Two carriers, LIAT and Fly Jamaica Airways, have partnered with the managing committee in which the costs of tickets have been decreased for persons who wish to fly during the carnival season.Additionally, beverage giant Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) in their partnership will be featuring their beverages with limited edition branding of their water bottles while hotels have cut some of their rates to facilitate the large tourist influx which Guyana is expected to receive.Persons who wish to attend the events and are in need of money will be able to do so with a loan, maximum of up to $300,000, which they are expected to repay within 12 months.The events will last from May 18 to the 27 and will highlight the Miss World Guyana Pageant, which is slated for the same period, along with rugby games, a steel band jamboree at the Bandstand, J’Ouvert on Independence eve, a Genesis road parade and other similar oriented fetes which will be held at different locations around the Garden City.However, to kick-start the vibes for these celebrations, Main Street will be revived with the introduction of Carnival Avenue starting on May 4 and continuing every Friday. This is expected to feature a number of local artistes who will be given a stage to promote their music.