The private sector has been called on to step up to the plate and meet any expected shortfall of funds with the establishment of a Drug Treatment Court (DTC) in Barbados.
Chairman of the Drug Treatment Court Steering Committee, Justice Randall Worrell, issued this call yesterday as he addressed the official launch of a pilot phase of the court for Barbados at the Supreme Court Complex.
???In the absence of Government finances towards these ventures, there is a need to invite players in the community from within the local private sector to provide any assistance to meet the expected shortfall,??? he said.
Justice Worrell stressed that treatment was important and central to the DTC???s success, and had to be bolstered by the stakeholders being proactive and reaching into the community.
???The private sector cannot on one hand be heard to complain about the addicts who have become vagrants and pests in Bridgetown, harassing and committing petty crimes on both locals and cruise and long-stay visitors and not be involved in the buy-in to this programme, which can, if effective, reduce the incidence of such behaviour which is both detrimental to society and the economic well-being of the country,??? he stated.
The Judge threw out the challenge that the time had come for those willing to support programmes and initiatives such as the DTC to be freed from the ???reels of red tape??? which normally make it difficult to obtain assistance for entities of the state.
However, Justice Worrell made it clear that though the private sector was being called upon to play a role in the establishment of the DTC, central Government also had its part to play.
And, he said, while the pilot project was established with savings to government, there was a need for support going forward.
Among the areas he pointed out would be in need of support, were the Probation Department, with the appointment of an additional Probation Officer, or the setting up of a satellite office of that department at the court.
???Remember, it is not because that we now have a DTC that this is required, but it is urgently needed to assist in the proper administration of the criminal justice system as we know it,??? he said.
He further added that Verdun House may or may not have the residential capacity to accommodate the clients when the DTC goes into full swing.
???The shift from accused or defendant to Drug Court participant or client means that our health care professionals have to be up to the task and treatment centres properly funded. This is not because of the DTC, this is needed in any properly functioning public and private health system,??? Justice Worrell underlined.??