The city of San Fernando is being considered to house a pilot drug treatment court and an expanded family court says Chief Justice Ivor Archie. Archie made the announcement yesterday while delivering the feature address at a workshop on the implementation of drug treatment courts as an alternative to incarceration for drug offenders at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre. The workshop was a collaboration between the Judiciary of T&T, the Ministry of National Security, Ministry of Justice, the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission and the Government of Canada. Archie described the introduction of drug treatment courts as an opportunity to undertake a restorative justice approach. Minister of National Security John Sandy also delivered remarks at the workshop.
Sandy said it was critical for drug courts to exist within a criminal system that demanded punishment for what was basically a health issue. Sandy said data from the T&T Police Service revealed that 55 per cent of arrests for drug possession was of people between the ages of 19 to 38. He described this age bracket as the period where most people start careers and families and contribute to society. He said the numbers revealed that if the problems of drug use remained unchecked a debilitating effect on national development would be the result. Sandy urged Archie to consider using National Security programmes as possible sites for community service once the drug treatment courts were established.