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Second group of graduates from the DTC of Trinidad and Tobago

 

The OAS congratulates the second group of graduates from the Drug Treatment Court of Trinidad and Tobago.

San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago. June 2015

The second group of participants in Trinidad and Tobago’s Drug Treatment Court (DTC) program, part of the Drug Treatment Courts for the Americas Initiative of the Organization of American States (OAS), completed the program after meeting rigorous treatment and legal requirements.

When Trinidad and Tobago joined the DTC program for the Americas, only four countries in the hemisphere were implementing this model. Yet, currently there are 14 OAS member states exploring, implementing, or consolidating the Drug Treatment Court model.

Angela Crowdy, the Assistant Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), and Dr. Riyad Insanally, Country Representative of the Organization of American States, were both present at the ceremony held this week in San Fernando. In addition, it was attended by members of the Diplomatic Corps, including the High Commissioner of Canada, the ChargĂ© d ’Affaires of the United States Embassy and the country Representative of the UNDP, Judges, the Chief Magistrates, executive staff of the Judiciary, the Director of Public Prosecution, Magistrates, Prosecutors, Defense Attorneys, Treatment Providers, Probations officers, court staff, graduates and proud families. Assistant Secretary Crowdy highlighted the professionalism, courage and determinations of all stakeholders, stating, “this is a day where justice was served through a model called the Drug Treatment Court, a model that did not exist a few years ago.  A model that Trinidad and Tobago so graciously, and professionally, carries out with great dignity, with professionalism, with mercy”.

The OAS, through CICAD, has worked with Trinidad and Tobago to fully understand the efficacy of the pilot program as the country and region consider the expansion of the model based on positive results. Due to the sustained success of this program, Assistant Secretary Crowdy pledged the continued support of the OAS.

The accomplishments of this multi-sectorial approach are the result of an inter-agency collaboration under the leadership of the Honourable Chief Justice of Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Justice Ivor Archie, and the Steering Committee of the DTC pilot.

In his address, the Chief Justice noted “it was clear that the international community continues to seek innovative approaches to addressing the drug problem, and while no one condones the use of substances which are harmful to your health, we must explore options which do not criminalize those persons who are suffering from the disease of addiction.” He also stated that the Judiciary is committed to supporting these solution-focused initiatives. 

Having launched its first DTC in the Caribbean in 2012, Trinidad and Tobago is now preparing to explore Juvenile Drug Treatment Courts. Since 2011, judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, police and probation officers, treatment providers, as well as policy makers have actively participated in information and training workshops, exchanges of good practices, and meetings on technical assistance carried out by CICAD as part of the OAS DTC Program for the Americas.

The Program has benefited from the financial support and contributions of the Government of Canada through its Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program (ACCBP), the support of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and experts from Canada and the United States.


updated on 6/29/2015 3:36:14 PM