af Troels Jensen • illustrationer/fotos Troels Jensen Illegal 13

No pressure, No problem

“Ey white boi!—What u want?”
“U lookin for summa dat good stuff?
—we got the best weed on the island
—local stuff or summa dat creepy.”

I refuse, just to get a new offer for a piece of chicken. My skin is pale and I look like the usual suspect from the regular yachts or a charter tourist from the hotels further down the beach. Later I pass the same spot. Intrigued by this gang of boys, I end up with a strong punch in my hand on a plastic chair between them. Telling stories from the ocean I just crossed, my home country Denmark, that I shoot movies and pictures—and my age.

“Whuuuut u 28! – ‘n u look like u in ur 40’ies!”

“Buy me two black Guinness and I’ll shave u up reeeeal nice. I make u look like the Danish Rick Ross!”

And so I end up in a back yard with a joint and a spiced rum in my hands being cut and shaved, while the barber is trying to make a business plan shipping cocaine to Denmark and getting guns in parts in return.

I am in the only nation in the world named after a woman. I am on the island Saint Lucia in the eastern Caribbean Sea, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. Here, tropical forests cover a mountainous interior flanked by the iconic twin volcanic peaks known as The Pitons.

Since the 17th century, the island has been back and forth between French and British territory, but in 1814 the British took definitive control of the island until they finally left St. Lucia to become an independent state in 1979.

The UN executive summary says that Caribbean countries are home to only 8.5% of the world’s population, but they account for about 27% of the world’s murders. Violent crime, police corruption and a failed justice system are believed to hinder the development of the region. St. Lucia is undeniably contributing to these numbers with much drug trafficking, and numerous murders and gunpoint robberies each year.

Weed seems to be present almost everywhere on this island. From the ghetto to the decent homes on top of the hill. The minister, the single mum, the old rasta that invited me to stay in his home, the boys in the street and the 60+ lady with the loud voice and nice smile. The weed seems to be in the DNA of this place, even though not everyone smokes it, it is present and outspoken. St. Lucia is close to Venezuela and therefore an obvious rendezvous for drug shipping, and with tourists coming in there is a continuous flow of new customers, and an obvious way to earn a little money if you do not have many other options.

I spent one month on the island in early 2016 after an Atlantic crossing and returned for another month in December 2016. I have fallen in love with the place, with the mentality, with the ease of life and the loose people of the island.

You don’t see problems here—only situations.