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Gang Members Say they Want to be Included in Belize’s Future Weed industry

The government has introduced legislation to develop the hemp industry and to establish a national hemp policy as well as monitoring mechanisms. In January, Cabinet approved the formation of an inter-ministerial committee to review the Misuse of Drugs Legislation. And while the Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa has said that the small men will be included, some gang leaders believe they won’t be consulted. During yesterday’s unprecedented press conference, PIV’s Brandon Smith and Backa Lands Jermain Garnett spoke on the issue.

Brandon Smith, PIV Gang: “That only goes for rich people. The same men that were condemning weed selling years ago they have the land, they will get it and they will give the poor people the job. We won’t make anything out of that.”

Reporter: So if you all were to get the land as he is saying and be given the opportunity to produce at a large scale you all could handle that ? 

Jermaine Garnett, Lake Independence: “This is what we are trying to say we need something to do. By not having anything to do your brain is just in a box building up. So by every time you will get up you will have a van that will carry ten men on the road everybody will cut down their things, we will plant our thing, do our thing but we don’t have the money. They have the money. The rich will always get richer you know ? Us in the slums stay like this. We can’t change everybody, we can only try to change ourselves in everything that we do. And everything that we do we try to take ourselves and change another individual but you can’t do it if that individual needs just like me and you because we can’t go over there and give him out of the little bit that we have. What we can do is take him and make all of us work together but all of us can’t work together if we don’t have any resources. In this life that we are living right now I will actually be forty and I haven’t seen anything else happen but the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. You know why I will tell you that ? The fact that you see the little people that go to buy at the store? Everybody goes to buy at the store? They work from Monday to Friday they go to buy at the store, when night comes the little man that is at the door is already used to begging for fifty cents and shilling. Everything has slowed down now so that person that could have had the job from Monday to Friday that was giving that fifty cents and shilling that man at the door is already used to a pack bread or everything that he can hustle by that door at the end of the evening. The way how the city is now the man at the door can’t hustle the breed anymore because there are no jobs and they are taking away the jobs from everybody so the lady that goes to buy at the shop can’t give the man the fifty cents again so the man has to decide to do something else to make that fifty cents now so that he can eat and maintain. When he used to leave from that shop every evening he would have a bread, chopped ham and little thing that he is taking because he hustled that day because everybody gave him something but nobody can give him now.”

Reporter: Do you feel like you will be boxed out of the whole industry ? 

Jermaine Garnett, Lake Independence: “Well, remember you need money you know. So you will have to get boxed out of the industry. We don’t have anybody that could fund us, we already aren’t getting any funds right now. The industry will only be the people that already have that could buy their bulldozer, their tractor, get the things shipped because they need to ship in the seeds, all those things because it’s not like you’re using the local seeds from Belize. The first thing you have to do is send for the seeds so it will only be the rich. I monitor the system -“

Reporter: Have they consulted you all yet ?

Jermaine Garnett, Lake Independence: “They will never consult us because we don’t have any money. You need an expense plan, you need to map out something, first thing you need the order structure, the first thing they’ll tell you is that you can’t get it in if all your paper work and things are not set together. We don’t have any paperwork, we don’t have anything. We’re laid back right here waiting for something from them that we are waiting for for years.”