Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite is of the view that Barbados’ first Drug Treatment Court is “treating to the cause”.
Speaking at the graduation of the first 11 participants this evening, he said the court was a better option than incarceration.
He was part of a team which visited Toronto, Canada a few years ago to see how drug treatment courts operated there. After that visit, he said, “it was an easy sell”.
“I feel especially proud,” Brathwaite told the graduates as he pledged continued support and assistance to them.
Francis McBarnette, Country Representative for the Organization of American States which is a sponsor of the initiative, said the graduation ceremony “represents the culmination of work of many dedicated agencies.”
He said an alternative to incarceration was necessary because statistics had shown that of the three and a half million persons who found themselves in prison, one third attributed their crimes to drug abuse.
He felt that even though “a significant amount” of money was spent on maintaining prisoners and prison facilities, it did “nothing to curb the drug problem”.
“I salute them, their efforts and their families,” McBarnette said of the graduates.
He also took the opportunity to thank the United States and Canadian governments which have “invested heavily in establishing drug treatment courts in this hemisphere.”