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Dana advocated for establishment of drug court

By Anna Ramdass

Former independent senator Dana Seetahal had advocated for a drug court to be established in this country.

Seetahal served as an independent senator from 2002 to 2010. In 2007, she contributed to the debate on a private motion moved by former independent senator Ramesh Deosaran which focused on the then People’s National Movement (PNM) Government handling of the crime situation.

She had expressed concern about the drug trade  and the increased addiction to cocaine and heroin.

“So you know when I hear this acknowledgement of this and we have all this crime, look at what is happening in the world and so on; yes, yes, but what are we doing here? Why is there no drug court? When I say drug court, I am not talking about a court called, “Drug and firearms court” where you try people charged with drug offences,” Seetahal had said.

“That is not what it is. A true “drug court” is a treatment court where persons who are users, that is under a certain amount of the drug, they go to that court and if they complete programmes of varying lengths from six months to two to three years, nothing is recorded against them, but they must come back to court and say what they are doing or they will be sent to prison,” she continued.

She said a drug court was successful in the United States and she was able to see it for herself during her time in Minnesota under the Fulbright programme.

Seetahal noted there were six prisons in the country and no rehabilitative programme in place.

“I intended to say a lot more, but when he spoke, the whole thing struck me again because I have been trying to make the point over the last three years at least, that something has to be done about drug addiction in this country,” said Seetahal.

She also spoke of the need for more interceptor boats in the clamping down of the drug trade. 

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