Two men who have been housed at the Psychiatric Hospital for more than half their lives can be released once the necessary financial and accommodation systems are in place.
That was the recommendation of Senior Registrar at the Black Rock, St Michael hospital Dr Ronald Chase on Thursday, when he gave a progress report to Justice Randall Worrell on Theo Bourne, 62, and John Brathwaite, 56.
The two have been kept at the mental institution, each for more than three decades, at His Majesty’s pleasure. They were admitted in their 20s.
Bourne has been there for the past 42 years while Brathwaite has been institutionalised for 34 years.
In 2021, King’s Counsel Andrew Pilgrim and his team of attorneys brought the court’s attention to their situations. The court was informed that no documents, records or information about the men could be found.
Since then, Bourne and Brathwaite have been in a quarter-way house programme to get them ready to be reintegrated into society.
“Mr Brathwaite has continued his quarter-way house programme, attending occupational therapy, recreational therapy and psychotherapy sessions,” said Dr Chase who added that the patient’s mental state has remained within “satisfactory limits” and he was demonstrating great coping skills.
In the case of Bourne, the doctor reported that he has also continued his quarter-way house programme and his mental state has remained within “acceptable limits”.
“Mr Bourne is not a danger to society and is eager to restart his life in society,” he added.
Both men will have to continue mental health follow-ups through the outpatient department of the Psychiatric Hospital after they are released.
However, Dr Chase said accommodations and financial assistance for the two were still not settled.
The hospital’s Social Work Department and the Welfare Department, he disclosed, were in the process of securing suitable accommodation and a welfare grant to assist them.
He recommended that both men remain in the quarter-way house programme until those arrangements are finalised.
Dr Chase is set to give the court an update on the process on May 31.
In addressing the court, Pilgrim said he was of the view that “we are going to run ourselves into a danger if we hinge their liberty on the financial circumstances of, for example, the Barbados Government”.
“I am agreeing to this adjournment for the end of May for this part, but I think if these men are fit for release we are going to run ourselves into difficulty if we keep waiting for Government to provide housing for them if they are entitled on every other day to be released,” the attorney said.
Justice Worrell suggested that the court, in conjunction with the lawyers, might have to “find some way of jogging one of those ministries”.
“In other words, we don’t want to see them back here. That is what we have to tell them in very blunt language. . . because the doctors dealing with them have said . . . these men should be released. Please don’t bring them back into the court system,” he said.