The Nassau Tribune reports on a criminal hearing last weekend in the Bahamas after five cruise ship passengers from two different ship were arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana. The five passengers each had between one and five grams of pot. I'm told that's enough pot for a couple of joints.
A 28 year old from Leesburg, Florida was apprehended by the Chief of Security on the Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas with 1 gram of pot. The ship's security invited the Bahamian police onto the Enchantment and handed the joint and the passenger over. The Magistrate filed him $500 and threatened that if he didn't pay the fine immediately he would throw him in jail, adding “and unlike US prisons, our prisons are not as hospitable.”
A 27 year old man from Sarasota, Florida was arrested after he bought 2 grams of pot ashore in downtown Nassau. He arrived in Nassau on the Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas. The Magistrate fined him $500 as well, telling him "some countries in Asia can carry a punishment as severe as death."
A 60 year old woman on the Enchantment of the Seas was arrested with 5 grams of pot. The magistrate filed her $800, stating (and I quote): "It is a shock that individuals at this age would be engaging in such illegal activities.”
A 61 year old man from Fort Meyers on an unspecified cruise ships was arrested after the cruise ship turned him over to the Bahamian police with 5 grams of pot. He received a $800 fine.
The last pothead was a 37 year old who bought 2 grams for $50 at the straw market. The stoner told the judge “I was walking around the straw market. I was drinking. I had like two rums that morning . . " The judge was unimpressed and threatened him with a three month jail sentence if he didn't pay $500 right away.
It never ceases to amaze me that cruise lines like Royal Caribbean make hundreds of millions of dollars pushing booze on their ships to the point that the passenger are knee-walking-and-puking drunk, but a cruise ship security officer will collar a guest for a single joint and turn them over to the police.
The double standard also applies to the Bahamas where pot dealers canvas the port and sell pot up and down Bay Street and in and around every bar in town. One of the chief complaints we hear from cruise passengers sailing to Nassau is that they are constantly harassed by the local citizens to buy pot the second they step off the cruise ship and walk into town.
The Bahamas has one of the highest crime rates in the world. It lets child predators go free, it has a deplorable record solving crimes on Bahamian-flagged cruise ships, and it is clueless when it comes to solving murders and violent crimes against tourists.
Nabbing cruise tourists with a joint or two, and teaming up with the cruise lines to pull passengers off the ship with small amounts of pot while Bahamians are openly selling the stuff at the straw market, are duplicitous revenue collecting exercises.
The Bahamas is one gunshot away from losing the cruise lines. It needs to concentrate its limited resources on protecting its citizens and visitors from armed bad guys and not hassle the tourists who bring money into its impoverished country.
Photo Credit: Vibe (top); Nassau Tribune April 9 2014 newspaper - Tribune.