CARICOM leaders have gathered for their 33rd Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in St Lucia, as a handful of demonstrators use the opportunity to get regional attention for their campaign for the decriminalization of marijuana.
Members of the Cannabis Movement of St Lucia, led by chairman Andre Decaires, stood outside the entrance of the Sandals Grande St Lucian Spa and Beach Resort as regional leaders made their way inside.
Decaires was joined by the group’s public relations officer Gordon Ray, and Melanie Fraites and Emerson Nelson and their young children Arae and Tino Nelson who carried placards with messages like “I skipped school to ask you to legalize cannabis”.
Inside the gates of the resort, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and his CARICOM colleagues met with other regional and international officials for the opening ceremony which began around 9:45 a.m.
The three-day meeting of the leaders is being presided over by CARICOM Chairman Dr Kenny Anthony, Prime Minister of St Lucia.
Other Prime Ministers in attendance are Baldwin Spencer of Antigua and Barbuda, Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominica, Tillman Thomas of Grenada, Portia Simpson-Miller of Jamaica, Dr Denzil Douglas of St Kitts and Nevis, and Kamla Persad-Bissessar of Trinidad and Tobago.
They are joined by President of Guyana Donald Ramotar, President of Haiti Michel Martelly, President of Suriname Desi Bouterse and Anguilla’s Chief Minister Hubert Hughes.
Absent are St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow, Prime Minister Perry Christie of the Bahamas, Bermuda’s Premier Paula Cox and Montserrat’s Chief Minister Reuben Meade.