Bermuda: Medical Marijuana Patients To Hold Rally; Cite Government For Dishonesty

AlanGordon

Activists plan to engage ruling party in discussion following caucus meeting

Back in January, then-Minister Michael Dunkley told the public that compassionate cannabis permit applications could be filed with his office, with a doctor’s support. This has proven to be untrue, with the Permanent Secretary as well as the Health Ministry Chief Medical Officer denying the program’s very existence./ (Please see below attachments for proof of the license program’s cancellation).

(Article depicting Minister Dunkley’s promise, later secretly broken)

“Gravely ill and dying patients took the Premier at his word, and scurried from doctor to doctor, sapping their final reserves of time and energy, only to find out that Government had secretly cancelled the program, despite taking public credit for their alleged compassion,” Gordon explained.

Gordon called the government’s gambit a “dirty trick” to play on the gravely ill and dying. At least two Bermudian patients have died while waiting for access to medical cannabis, needlessly suffering, according to Gordon.

Patients are now insisting on face-to-face talks with the Premier, outside the formal time-limited caucus meeting guidelines, because, Gordon says: “The time for sound bites and stock answers is over. We want direct, honest talks with follow-up questions because we were lied to, and we don’t trust these guys anymore.”

Gordon has also requested that in any talks with the Premier, that journalist Ayo Johnson be present as a “fair witness”.

"The rally, scheduled for 6:30 pm Tuesday outside the OBA HQ on Reid Street, will feature patients stretching a thin, soft paper chain across the exit to the building," Gordon said. "Any OBA official who has a legitimate health care or child care concern will be allowed to leave without breaking the paper chain.

"Otherwise, any official who tries to escape prior to Premier Dunkley’s appearance will have to break the chain and be seen by the public and the media to have fled gravely ill patients who allege that they were deceived by the Premier of Bermuda," Gordon said.

For public safety and order, demonstrators must not impede any pedestrians or vehicles along Reid Street, and so should line up single file to the East and West of the OBA HQ, according to Gordon, who said the rally will be attended by patients, family members, caregivers, and members of the public who sympathize with their plight.

Concerned members of the public are invited to participate.

Proof That the Medical Cannabis License Program is Closed

The following email shows the government's chief medical officer telling a doctor (of a seriously ill patient), in mid-April, that medical cannabis is not allowed in Bermuda.

On Monday, April 14, 2014 10:31 AM, "Peek-Ball, Cheryl E." wrote:

Good morning Dr Johnson,

I have received your email below describing the difficult social and health situation of Mr. [John Doe]. The options for this gentleman at this time include application to Financial Assistance for medical benefits or for full support, whichever his situation justifies. It is clear he requires careful management by the appropriate medical team (ie. Internist or neurologist), and a “medical card” through Financial Assistance may assist him. Minimally, that Department can direct him to the necessary social services resources. Please advise him to follow up there.

Finally, as you may know, there are no provisions for the legal importation and dispensing of Cannabis containing products in Bermuda at this time.

Kind regards,

Cheryl Peek-Ball, MD, MPH
Chief Medical Officer
Ministry of Health and Environment
Bermuda

Photo: Alan Gordon