Twenty-four drug offenders were today urged to “tread the difficult path” to fight their addiction.
Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson delivered the words of encouragement as the third cohort of the Drug Treatment Court (DTC) opened in the No. 4 Supreme Court.
“Fighting addiction is not easy [but] I wish the best for everyone of you because you know better than I do that there is a better you somewhere and what we want you to do is to liberate that better you so that you can get back to being constructive citizens,” the Chief Justice said.
The DTC is geared towards persons whose drug addiction or dependency is a factor in the commission of non-violent crimes. Sir Marston said his wish for the candidates was for them to successfully complete the programme.
“It’s a difficult path that you have to tread to get to where you want to be, so it’s not going to be easy. There will be times when you will fall, but you do not fail when you fall, you only fail when . . . you fail to get back up. What the Drug Treatment Court is here to do is help you get back up,” Sir Marston told the candidates.
He described the programme as “the new face of the Court”, which he said was designed to show that the system was not simply there to punish, fine or imprison, but to reform.
Magistrate Graveney Bannister, who is chairman of the DTC, said it allowed candidates a second chance “to be good citizens and to reintegrate into society”.
“The ultimate aim of the Drug Treatment Court is to reduce crime in Barbados. When you are on drugs and depend on the drugs, you have to feed that habit . . . . We try to wean you off that to ensure that you are productive citizens and my hope is for you to become ambassadors for this Court,” Bannister said.