Mario Matthew was one of 44 inmates at Her Majestys Prison (HMP) who were recognized for successfully taking part in the House of Healing course in November 2010.
Photo Credit: Melissa Edwards/BVI Platinum News
A father of three who pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of cannabis [11.5 grams], said he has been smoking marijuana for over 20 years and believes that smoking is not the problem.
Mario Matthew gave an explanation to the Magistrate's Court today, August 29.
"I don't sell drugs anymore; it's just my habit of smoking and I want to get rid of that, but everything takes time...I don't believe that smoking is the problem; the real problem is selling cocaine,"
Matthew, who was released from prison last year for gun related offenses, said that since he left prison it has been tough finding a job.
"Since I came out of jail it's hard to find work; it's like I have to sell my labour for less."
Matthew, who admitted that he once sold cocaine, assured that he is no longer does that.
"I ain't messing with cocaine...My wife left me and I trying to get everybody back around me...I have been smoking marijuana for over 20 years, but I am not into touching that cocaine thing. So to me smoking is not the problem, the real problem was selling cocaine," Matthew stated.
The man said that he attended Sandy Lane Centre for help, but it was futile. He also said that he has been before the court for intent to supply drugs, but now it's a small amount of marijuana.
However, Magistrate Tamia Richards commented that "we all sometimes have to sell our labour for less".
"We are in the same boat," the Magistrate stated.
She also told him that the penalty for cannabis and cocaine are similar. Magistrate Richards also stated that when someone re-offends, the punishment increases since it shows that the previous punishment did not deter the person.
She ordered that he attends the Sandy Lane Centre for treatment before she hands down a sentence.
"20 years chasing those demons is long Mr. Matthew. You are destroying every organ in your body," she told him.
He has to return to court on October 17.
Matthew also pleaded guilty to failing to stop at the sound of a siren.
The incident took place on July 12, 2012 when Police Officers on mobile patrol attempted to stop Matthew, who was driving a rental jeep. However, Matthew lead them on a chase into the area of Joe's Hill where he threw dime bags out the window, exited the vehicle and made good his escape.
Officers retrieved the drugs and later that evening, Matthew called the Police Station, stating that he wanted to turn himself in. The following day he reported to the Police Station.
The street value for the cannabis is $110.50.