Life’s good for Romone after he’s turned around by probation team
A man who triumphed over substance abuse and violent behaviour yesterday reminded troubled youngsters that life “gets better”.
Romone Smith, 31, said that his probation officers helped him change by being the role models he lacked as a child – and that many young men still struggled to find.
He added that, although many young men would find it tough to overcome their problems, they could still help themselves.
Mr Smith said after the court hearing: “I would like to say to all the young people struggling on the island that I’m sorry you’re living this way.
“It’s hard out there, and it’s hard to change, but you don’t have to live like this.”
He added: “I’ve been completely sober for the first time in 20 years. You don’t know what the future holds.”
Mr Smith was speaking after his final probation review in Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
Probation officers earlier told the court that Mr Smith had done “exceptionally well”, turned his life around and struck to his probation conditions.
Mr Smith, from St George’s, was convicted of the unlawful wounding of a man in 2019.
He was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to steer clear of drugs and alcohol and take anger management classes.
Mr Smith admitted that he failed to comply with the conditions at first.
He explained that he struggled to keep off drugs and was rude to court staff.
The court heard Mr Smith returned to court on March 23 for a breach of probation – which put him at risk of jail time.
He said: “My probation officers sat me down and said that I can’t keep doing this and that I have to do better. It took me getting ‘breached’ to get my life together.”
Mr Smith said that his court-ordered classes taught him how to tackle his problems at their roots and how to control his anger.
He explained that he had endured “a hard life” and had dealt with his problems through violence and drugs.
Mr Smith added that his parole officers, Jibri Lewis and Robert King, gave him the support he needed to turn his life around.
He said: “They’ve really changed my life.”
Mr Smith added: “I’ve realised that I don’t have to argue with people if I'm upset with them – I can always just walk away.”
Mr Smith told the court that, because of his hard work, he was now “a different Romone”.
He explained that he had landed work as a freelance construction worker and planned to start a Bermuda College nursing course in the autumn.
Mr Smith said: “I’ve never felt this way before.
“It feels good having financial security and getting clean and being able to provide for my wife and four kids.”
Magistrate Maxanne Anderson congratulated him on his success.
She said: “The people at the Department of Court Services work hard every day to help people in need. It’s not just a job to them – if it was then they’d leave.”
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