The decriminalisation of marijuana is not something the Government is examining at this point in time, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said on Monday.Rowley was responding to questions from the media at the VIP lounge of the Piarco International airport on a Guardian newspaper headlined report AG looks at legal ganja where Attorney General Faris Al Rawi is quoted as saying that there is a drive to gather statistical information on the issue of decriminalising ganja.The AG was placed in a hot spot by the Prime Ministers comments as he (Al Rawi) is quoted at length in the Guardian report as he spoke about consultations and the need for a holistic approach on the controversial topic.However, Dr Rowley said he would be very surprised if the AG spoke to decriminalising marijuana and would want to explain himself as the Cabinet never discussed this matter.I lead the cabinet and I dont know that any such examination is taking place. Ive seen the headline, I havent read the story but Im pretty sure the Attorney General will really want to explain that and I would be very surprised if that is what he said. We have been in office for seven months and we spent no time examining the decriminalisation of marijuana so whatever conversation generated that headline, there is certainly some misunderstanding there, he added.Asked whether the decriminalisation of marijuana was something the Government would look at, Rowley responded: Whats publish there is we are doing that. I am simply saying we are not doing that at this point in time. What happens in the future we will deal with that when we get to it,.Al Rawi explainsSpeaking to the media after the Prime Minister departed aboard an American Airlines flight for the US, Al Rawi met with reporters to clarify that he was speaking to the Guardian as Attorney General and not on behalf of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.You must disaggregate the question of Cabinet versus Government. I am the Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago and it is quite simple, the questions posed to me by Gail Alexander (Guardian reporter) were in the context of the work thats going on in the prison system, specifically the questions were posed in the context of the maximum sentencing approach and the issue that the Archbishop has raised which coincides with the issue that we put into the public domain of really looking to see how people who are remanded have been managed by the criminal justice system, he said.The AG explained that it was in this context that the issue of possession of narcotics, specifically marijuana arose.I said to the reporter that we were of course looking at the statistics behind that because you cant engage in the exercise of maximum sentence application or treatment of remandees through the system of possession matter without looking at the statistical impact, so regrettably the headline doesnt really say where the questions arose and in what context, he added.The Cabinet has not been invited to consider any of this as a whole. On the other hand it is perfectly within well fit for the AG office to be doing the work we are doing specifically because weve started within the domain of remand and the prisons and secondly we are looking at it in the criminal justice reforms that we have and thirdly that statistical information will have to be factored and considered as the article suggests and only then will a policy of a Government be taken, said Al Rawi.Questioned on whether the AGs office doesnt form part of the Government and therefore when he speaks it would be on behalf of the Government, Al Rawi said that only when a line Minister bring a proposal to Cabinet and it is agreed upon then it becomes Government policy.I dont report to the Prime Minister everything that goes on in my office in terms of examination of material or case by case aspects nor does the Prime Minister or others engage in the same, he said.Each Minister, he said, has within his or her portfolio a host of analysis issues at any one point in time.There is a real consideration that our jails contain people with simple possession issues, marijuana in particular, said the AG adding that it is a very live issue for the judiciary, the DPP and the AGs office. And certainly we wont shy away from considering the issues, he said.Al Rawi added that Governments policy has to be fed on the basis of information that comes forward and from consultations.


ONE day after announcing the election date, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley blasted the United National Congress’ (UNC) campaign promise to reduce taxes as irresponsible and nothing more than election gimmickry.

“NO mask, no service” has been the policy adopted by many businesses amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

But on August 10, the refrain will change to “no mask, no vote”.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram yesterday said all voters will be required to wear a mask or face shield before being allowed into polling stations to cast their ballots.