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Nov 3, 2017

A.G. Says Crime Isn’t All About Marijuana

The recent spike in violent crimes in Belize City is being attributed to an ongoing drug war among rival groups, purportedly over the sale of marijuana.  With the decriminalization of that small quantity comes an insatiable appetite for various strains of the drug which will inevitably drive its demand.  While the police department has made a correlation between crime and violence and marijuana sales, the country’s chief legal officer maintains that the drug war is simply the result of bad business, not necessarily the cause of the product itself.


Isani Cayetano

“How does this work in the context of marijuana not being legalized in Belize?  In other words, you have people who are growing, you have people who are retailing and those two acts are illegal in the eyes of the law.”


Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General

“Well you see Isani; we will see how it will work when it gets into practice.  I have never shied away from the fact that the position of Cabinet is that we have a wet foot/dry foot policy.  For those of you not familiar with that, the Cubans leave Cuba in boat, if you make it to the shores of the United States you are home free.  If the United States Coast Guard catches you out at sea then they send you back to Cuba.  So if you make it there then no questions asked, but you have to make it there.  You cannot grow it, you cannot distribute it, it’s not for commercial sale or trade.  I saw somebody on Facebook saying, “I have the good marijuana now that it’s legal, you can come and buy it.”  That’s completely illegal.  But we are saying, if you happen to have your ten grams or less and you have been shifty enough to get to that point then you are home free.  It’s not a perfect piece of legislation, but we had to start somewhere.  We had to start somewhere.”



“As the Attorney General and as someone who holds public office, what are your thoughts on the timing, seeing as though there is seemingly a drug war taking place in Belize City that has ramped up crime and violence tremendously and the coincidence at this juncture with which the law is being passed, wouldn‘t that tend to fuel what is already taking place in the streets of Belize City?”


Michael Peyrefitte

“Well, with maximum respect to those who hold that position, and some senior police officers hold that position, I think there is just a general sense of lawlessness in this country that’s unacceptable at this point where you have people punching female officers and people abusing other people like that.  I will not buy, hook, line and sinker that it is a marijuana issue.  Yes, you can make the case that in the trade, people would get from other dealers and they would sell and when they can’t pay then they run themselves into trouble.  But that has nothing to do with marijuana itself.  It has to do with anything.  If you sell land and you don’t pay who you need to pay, you run into trouble with people.”


Isani Cayetano

“Tantamount to bad business practice?”


Michael Peyrefitte

“Bad business practices, worthlessness, irresponsibility and downright thievery.  We are living a type of lifestyle, many of us, that’s dangerous and that’s lawless and I don’t think that it has to do with marijuana.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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