Written by on June 29, 2018

Attorney-at-Law Jerry Edwin, has cited the need for a facility similar to the former Carlton House Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre, in order to properly treat and rehabilitate alcoholics and drug abusers, who find themselves in trouble with the law.

In an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY newspaper last week Thursday, Attorney Edwin insisted that this is just about the only way to reduce spiraling crime driven by alcohol and drug abuse in the country.

“We have a serious problem,” said the attorney, who is from the law chambers of Eden Law Caribbean, located at Grenville Vale in St. George North-west.  “There is a gap to be filled and unless that void is filled, we will continue to see increased incidents of violence and harm in the absence of a facility like Carlton House…”, he added.

According to the U.S-trained attorney-at-law, both the High Court and the Magistrates’ Courts are inundated with “these offenders by the dozens” and the Richmond Hill prison is filled with young men “whose crime for wounding and grievous harm arises from drug abuse”.

The attorney lamented that there are “many defendants who are alcoholics and drug abusers and I am not talking about marijuana abuse, who are crying out to the authorities in Grenada, saying please, we want (to) get off crack cocaine, we want to reduce our use of alcohol…we need a residential facility like Carlton House, which has changed so many of their lives”.

“I heard it for myself in Sauteurs two days ago. A 54-year-old man says, I spent half my life in jail and I am doing so because I have a drug problem… it’s not enough for me to sit down with somebody and they tell me just say no to drugs and alcohol, it does not work,” Attorney Edwin quoted the person as saying.

According to a 2014 World Health Organisation (WHO) report, Grenada held the unenviable position of having the highest rate per capita of yearly alcohol consumption in the Americas with an average consumption of 12.5 litres of pure alcohol per person per year.  Grenada topped St. Lucia 10.4 litres, Canada 10.2 litres, Chile 9.6 litres, Argentina 9.3 litres and the United States 9.2 litres.
Pointing to the statistics, Attorney Edwin said: “So we know we have a problem.”

Carlton House was established on January 4, 1985 at St. Paul’s, St. George to cater for alcohol abusers.  The building was severely damaged by the passage of Hurricane Ivan on September 7, 2004 and virtually destroyed by fire on February 4, 2008.

Attorney Edwin blames a lack of will and resources or a combination of both by the authorities — including the Ministry of Health — to try and rebuild a similar facility for alcohol and drug abusers.  He said that as a result “we have mass overcrowding at Richmond Hill (prison).”  He stated that some might ask where “we are going to get the money to fund another facility like Carlton House”, but that can be easily addressed.

Attorney Edwin called for a tax to be imposed on alcohol and cigarettes to raise the money as has been done in many countries; because that can go a long way towards “the construction, development and full staffing of a facility like Carlton House.”  “I think if you raised the price of a bottle of alcohol by 50 cents for Rivers, Clarke’s Court and Vodka, the alcohol beverages of choice, in three years I am sure we will raise (over) 3 million dollars,” he said.

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