A local magistrate is not at all happy with the response of local employers to reformed drug addicts.
Addressing the second graduation ceremony held by the Drug Treatment Court (DTC) at the Supreme Court on White Park, St Michael this afternoon, Magistrate Graveney Bannister expressed disappointment over the response of the business community to the two-year-old programme.
The magistrate said even though some persons had found work after graduating from last year’s programme, such support from corporate Barbados was still few and far between.
At the same time, the magistrate acknowledged that the drug rehabilitation programme had not been a complete success with seven of the 24 young drug offenders who originally signed up for this year’s cohort, failing to attend the course.
They are therefore due to be served with summonses shortly, while five others who attended but were unable to complete the programme are to be re-assigned to next year’s programme.
Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson, who delivered the feature address, told the audience that included several dignitaries as well as family members and friends of the 11 men and one woman who graduated today, that the DTC was trying to replace addiction with wholesome activities and behaviours.
Sir Marston therefore urged magistrates to give greater consideration to the DTC as an alternative to prison time for non-violent drug offenders.
He also commended those graduates who had expressed a desire to return to assist the court by acting as mentors for other addicts.
One of the highlights of the ceremony was the reading of written testimonies of three graduates by drug counsellor Cheryl Griffith and the singing of songs by two others that drew an emotional response from members of the audience that included Chairman of the DTC Steering Committee Justice Randall Worrell, OAS Representative Francis McBarnette, Canadian High Commissioner to Barbados Marie Legault, US Ambassador to Barbados Linda Taglialatela and Dr Ronald Chase of the Psychiatric Hospital.