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Aug 15, 2018

O.A.S.’ Many Contributions to the Jewel Are Highlighted

Kenneth Benjamin

Throughout the programme there were testimonials of sorts on the O.A.S.’ contribution to the development of Belize, in areas including human development and the justice system.  Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, in his remarks, touched on an initiative to tackle the issue of backsliding in drug addiction.  The O.A.S. was crucial to getting that project off the ground.

 

Kenneth Benjamin, Chief Justice

“Early in 2012, having regard to the experience that we garnered in the lower courts, it was decided that the time had come to address recidivism in drug addiction.  And so we embarked upon a program involving the O.A.S. to address that situation.  We found that there was a need for treatment and the general rehabilitation of criminal offenders who could no longer be ignored.  And so therefore, the traditional approach, the judicial approach had to be put aside and we had to doctor a different measure in dealing with drug addiction and dependency.  The traditional approach had very limited success and we felt that it was time to reduce the burden on the judicial system that was being cast by repeat offenders.  So with the assistance of a retired judge of the U.S. District Court of Mississippi, Judge Starret Greene, with the help of the O.A.S. we embarked upon a proprietary course in order to introduce drug treatment courts into Belize.”

 

Patrick Andrews

Patrick Andrews, C.E.O., Ministry of Foreign Affairs

“It has been one of friendship and cooperation.  Really the O.A.S. has been an important part of our development and really access to our voice in the region.  Myself, I was in Washington as Ambassador of Belize to the U.S. and permanent representative, so I know how important it is for us in the Belize/Guatemala dispute.  It has been crucial for us to have the O.A.S. assisting us through the various stages and even as we talk about the role that they play at the Adjacency Zone and as we move towards referendum, we’re going to need the O.A.S. to continue partnering with us.  So this seventieth anniversary is very key for us.”

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