‘Our community is pervasive in its acceptance of the use of certain drugs’ Burch – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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‘Our community is pervasive in its acceptance of the use of certain drugs’ Burch

Government Senate Leader David Burch condemned adults who routinely smoke drugs in front of children, as the Upper House yesterday passed a bill cracking down on doping in sport.

The Anti-Doping in Sport Act moves Bermuda's laws into line with other countries, so top athletes can continue taking part in international competitions.

But Sen Burch said being allowed to play sport isn't the only reason people should avoid taking drugs. “Without any of the caveats from an international perspective, just as a matter of a principle I support it,” said the National Security Minister of the legislation.

“I believe that our community, like some others, is pervasive in its acceptance of the use of certain drugs. You will have heard me commenting with some annoyance on the cavalier attitude that some adults take in terms of their usage of illicit drugs in front of young people, so they grow up thinking it's the norm.”

He said the argument that some drugs aren't dangerous “doesn't resonate with me”.

The new legislation formally sets up the Bermuda Sport Anti-Doping Authority, which will collect and test samples from sportsmen and women, and launch an awareness and education campaign on drugs in sport.

Sen Burch said: “People must know that if you want to represent Bermuda on the international stage you can't engage in any drugs activity. And if you do you can't represent us.

“Once this legislation is passed, I don't want to hear nobody from any quarter of this Country say, ‘Oh my Johnny made a mistake'.

“Don't start by telling me, ‘I didn't know.' No knowledge of the law isn't a defence.”

Progressive Labour Party Senator Cromwell Shakir said some sports clubs aren't doing enough to stop their players using drugs.

Sen Shakir referred to the “Miami Seven” case of 1997, when seven national footballers were arrested at Miami airport for drug importation following a tournament in Jamaica.

“We had some indicators at home before we had the Miami Seven that footballers were dabbling into stuff that wasn't acceptable,” said Sen Shakir.

“At local level, clubs level, we should do better at ensuring our sportsmen do not do what they are not supposed to do.”

United Bermuda Party Senator Suzann Roberts-Holshouser and Independent Senator Walwyn Hughes raised questions over how much the initiative would cost. Sen Roberts-Holshouser asked about staffing levels, while Sen Hughes said: “This is not going to come cheaply. That's a concern.

“It doesn't mean it's not going to be necessary or worthy, but it's going to be expensive. This is an independent body but its sources of revenue are pretty minimal.”

Independent Senator Joan Dillas-Wright said international sport offers young people the chance to win scholarships, but warned banned substances include medication such as pills for diets and growth hormones.

Government Senator David Burt spoke about “performance disenhancing” drugs.

“There are many in our community who take a cavalier view on the effect recreational drug use can have on performance,” said Sen Burt. “Young people should know this is not the best way to excel in sports.”

Senator David Burch Minister of National Security

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Published March 03, 2011 at 9:16 am (Updated March 03, 2011 at 9:15 am)

‘Our community is pervasive in its acceptance of the use of certain drugs’ Burch

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