An investigation was underway Tuesday in Trinidad and Tobago over allegations that marijuana was found two years ago in the home of the island nation’s prime minister, according to a new report. Five grams of “a ‘plant like material’ resembling that of marijuana” was found in the private residence of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar in 2013, according to a police press statement released on a local news outlet’s Facebook page.
Police issued its statement Tuesday just hours after a press conference held by Jack Warner -- the former FIFA executive embroiled in a bribery and kickback scandal involving the organization governing global soccer -- during which he said Persad-Bissessar was not in the country at the time, the Trinidad Express reported. The investigation into the claims was delayed by two years because an official report was never submitted to police until Monday, according to the statement.
The acting commissioner of police had previously denied that any marijuana was found on the premises because of the absence of a police report, according to the Jamaica Observer, but Warner’s press conference -- during which he played secretly recorded conversations that implicated the country’s former national security minister -- forced police to launch its investigation.
Laws in Trinidad and Tobago surrounding marijuana, which is classified as being “among dangerous drugs,” are very strict, according to the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, which reported that “A person found to have marijuana in his/her possession is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction (in the magistrates’ courts) to a fine of $25,000 and to imprisonment for five years. Upon conviction on indictment (in the High Court), such individual is liable to a fine of $50,000 and to imprisonment for a term over five years, but not exceeding 10 years.”
A marijuana field in the Santa Cruz neighborhood of Trinidad and Tobago of about 30,000 plants was found and destroyed last week, according to the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday, which reported the action was taken because of the “zero tolerance” approach to drugs on the island.