On Thursday, October 1, an American who was a passenger on board a cruise ship was sent to jail in Barbados in the Caribbean.
Christopher James Sarette, aged 31 from Las Cruces in New Mexico was on a Caribbean cruise aboard the Adventure of the Seas. The ship was docked in Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados when he was seen by the Security Chief on the ship as he was smoking a joint of marijuana. He was then detained and the local police were called. The police then searched his cabin and found a further 14 grams of cannabis He was then remanded in custody and appeared in court charged with possession and importing of marijuana.
In this defense, Sarette said that he had bought the marijuana in St. Lucia on September 30, which was the port the ship had called in before arriving in Barbados and he had smoked some of it there as well. He said no one had told him that smoking marijuana was against the law neither in St. Lucia, nor in Barbados.
The magistrate ruled that he should pay $750 as a fine for possession of marijuana and a further $1,000 for importing the drug. Should he not be able to pay the fines, they would be waived and instead he had to spend a month in jail at Her Majesty’s Dodds Prison.
Many passengers have complained that on certain Caribbean Islands they are pestered by people on shore trying to sell them drugs, however, even though cannabis is legal in some states in the United States, when it comes to cruise ships it is illegal, along with any other illicit drugs.
In addition, under the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, not only is it illegal but members of the crew are bound to report anything suspicious. Anyone caught with marijuana even if it is a tiny amount will be disembarked from the ship and may be reported to the local police.