There has been, and sadly continues to be, Bali bashing by the international media. Anything that does not fit into the ‘paradise’ image of Bali is immediately seized upon and highlighted. Even legitimate drug busts by Bali Police appear to attract an unending stream of abuse, misinformation and sanctimonious comments by those that base their views on Chinese whispers.
It is easy to pontificate on the drawbacks of Indonesian Law, the omissions and commissions of the Bali Police and the ‘perceived’ corruption within the system. No one can deny that there exists some truth in all this (thanks to the KPK).
However, the question needs to be asked –
Why do people continue to smuggle or buy drugs in Bali when the death penalty prevails here?
Some attribute this growing phenomenon to:
– International drug cartels: Example – Timothy Geoffrey Lee, 44, arrested by Indonesian Police on a request received from the NSW Police after they had busted a European drug syndicate importing ecstasy into Australia (street value $30 million).
– Family Businesses – The Corbys ?
– Individuals – Michael Sacatides, 43, caught with 1.7 kilos of methamphetamine.
Others claim it is merely a demand and supply chain like prostitution, fueled by la dolce vita, the good life and that it feeds those tripping the light fantastic in an imaginary psychedelic world.
But is this true? Does tourism generate a need for drugs? And is Bali exclusive in its predicament?
It is said that the three sisters – Bali, Goa, Ibiza – are the playgrounds for jetsetters and those seeking a temporary release valve from the pressures of work…hence the devil-may-care attitude to recklessly taunt fate by imbibing banned substances.
The ‘only’ difference between the three is that Bali, Indonesia, imposes the death penalty.
Even with the stakes so high there continues to be a constant flow of arrests – people from all walks of life attempting to smuggle drugs into Bali. The end result of these misadventures is an overflowing
Kerobokan jail, harassed officials and damaging publicity for the island’s administration.
The recently released book Hotel K by Kathryn Bonella rips apart the secure walls of Kerobokan jail and reveals the sordidness/wretchedness inside it.
A copy of this book should be kept in every hotel/villa room in Bali as essential reading for all tourists, and a warning.
It is also a known fact that ‘undesirable’ locals are selling drugs. The continuing arrests and incarceration of these ‘gentlemen’ is ample proof that the scourge has sunk deep into the system.
If overhaul of the system is to be undertaken then the first step should be to ease the pressure in overcrowded prisons and the resultant inhumane conditions, which includes buying and selling of drugs within the precincts of the jail.
The present situation at Kerobokan Jail is reflective of medieval times.
Maybe it is time to bite the bullet and consider this option as a first step towards working on a lasting solution.
— All foreign inmates serving up to five years should be deported after payment of an amount in US$ as a reimbursement to the Bali government for costs incurred by it on board and lodging. All personal details along with a mug shot and drug offense/s or any other offense must be uploaded onto a special website for such felons so that anyone in the world has access to the data.
Further a written guarantee must be obtained from the country of the convict that the said convict can never leave it for the duration of the balance unserved sentence in Indonesia. Or, that the convict serves out his/her sentence in a jail in the home country.
— As for Indonesian convicts the same conditions should apply but payment can be made in Rupiah supported by a written guarantee from the Banjar/local community heads that the convict has to do community service for the remainder of the unserved sentence. This would help in rehabilitating felons and ease the congestion in prisons. More importantly it will have a positive effect on the international image of Indonesia as a modern republic.
I am aware the above suggestions voiced by many well meaning and concerned folk in Bali and elsewhere is a small step towards sanity but then we have to start somewhere, and what better way to begin than by creating international goodwill and at the same time help save lives.
Let us show the world our humanity.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om