Legal Affairs minister calls out teachers’ union president

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Controversial discussions on marijuana use in schools have resurfaced since the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers (ABUT) recently aired its concern over the use of drugs among students.

Yesterday, the Legal Affairs Minister, Steadroy ‘Cutie’ Benjamin, called out the president of the ABUT, Ashworth Azille, for what he refers to as unethical statements suggesting the prevalence of marijuana use in schools.

“He may be concerned, and quite rightly so, but it is unfair, unethical and wrong to give information which has no scientific basis,” Benjamin said.

Benjamin is demanding proof to support the claims made by Azille who – during his State of the Union address at this year’s Annual General Conference – stated that this “emerging negative trend” will create a massive social problem if not addressed with a degree of urgency.

Benjamin said “The questions I want to ask are these: firstly, where is the evidence? What studies have been conducted? And secondly, by what methodology? What did he use to come with the figure that there is widespread use of marijuana in our schools?”

Last week, Azille made several remarks proclaiming his concerns with regard to how the recent decriminalisation of marijuana has negatively impacted schools.

He said: “Many of our students are now eager to have a little thing in their mouth, and they will boldly tell you ‘well the Worl’ Boss has passed the law.’ You laugh, but it is frightening, because more and more students are coming to school not being able to function unless they take a draw.”

The minister told OBSERVER media that he was surprised by the statements made by the teachers’ union president, and he is reminding the public that marijuana use in schools, or in any other public place is not permitted.

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