Drug Treatment Courts in the Caribbean

OAS and CARICOM Promote Drug Treatment Courts in the Caribbean

A project funded by the Government of Canada through the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program (ACCBP)

Bridgetown, June 2012


CICAD, with the financial support of the Canadian Government and in conjunction with the Barbadian National Council on Substance Abuse (NCSA), led a meeting of more than 50 participants from Barbados with the intent of solidifying the country’s commitment to opening a Drug Treatment Court (DTC) pilot program. In an effort to educate and “sensitize” the political actors and numerous other officials present from pertinent areas of government, CICAD brought seven experts from Canada, USA, and Jamaica who conducted training, presented their experiences and provided answers to many of the questions posed by the Barbadian representatives.


CICAD planned this event with the following three objectives:

1.      To establish a solid commitment to a DTC pilot program from key stakeholders in the Government of Barbados

2.      To understand the specific needs and potential problems facing the Barbadian government and judiciary with regards to DTCs

3.      To sensitize the public to the idea of DTCs through the Barbadian press


The meeting was divided into two days; the first being an intensive, knowledge-building series of presentations for Barbadian government officials and press to better understand the procedures, benefits and costs of DTCs as well as different “guide” models from Canada, the USA and Jamaica. A press conference was held shortly after the first three presentations as a means to bring DTCs to the national consciousness of Barbados. The second day consisted of presentations designed to introduce participants to the methodology of evaluation and measurement used by the Inter-American Observatory on Drugs and the University of California, Santa Barbara, which conducts statistical research for the DTCs of northern California. In order to provide responses to the many questions and to provide insight with regards to the doubts of the participants, a question-and-answer session was then held with Justice Kofi Barnes, one of the first to implement the DTC model in Canada. For more information, see agenda attached.

After the question-and-answer sessions a meeting with the Attorney General and Ministry officials was planned to establish his commitment to supporting DTCs and his review of the Memorandum of Understanding between the OAS/CICAD and the Government of Barbados.


The Government of Barbados, through the Attorney General, confirmed interest in implementing the model and asked that working meeting be scheduled to draft a plan of action before September.

Support from the Canadian government was provided through their financial sponsorship of the event and the presence of the High Commissioner of Canada to Barbados, H.E. Ruth Archibald.

Overall attendance to the event was 55. Barbadian attendees included the Attorney General, Director of Public Prosecutions, Chief Medical Officer, and Chief of Police.

As seen in Figures 3.1 and 3.3 of Annex I, all attendees found this workshop valuable to their work and confirmed overwhelmingly that the workshop had increased the knowledge of DTCs. They took the opportunity to highlight their needs in the evaluation and also identified countries that they felt would be able to provide assistance in the process of setting up a DTC.

Media coverage of the event provided publicity in all of the country’s main news outlets as well as generating news in other Caribbean nations and regional reporters.




This initiative is being executed under the umbrella of OAS´s DTC-Americas Initiative. DTC-Caribbean is being carried out by the Organization of the American States (OAS) through the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of the Secretariat for Multidimensional Security (SMS) and funded by the Government of Canada through the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program (ACCBP), and administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT).Some strategic partners: Canadian Association of Drug Treatment Court Professionals (CADTC) and the International Association of Drug Treatment Courts (IADTC)

updated on 8/7/2012 2:13:20 PM