Gleaner: Letter of the Day Friday | July 29, 2016
THE EDITOR, Sir:
This is in response to your article 'Justice minister blasts judges and justice system', published Monday, July 25, 2016.
It is believed that the use of certain words and phrases in your article conjures the wrong message and, therefore, misrepresented the intent and purpose of the minister's presentation to the Ministry of National Security's Conference on Citizen Security in Montego Bay on Thursday, July 21.
While Minister Delroy Chuck may have placed some responsibility at the feet of judges for the backlog in cases and suggested that they need to improve on how they deliver on cases, in no way would the minister 'blame' judges for the issues facing the justice system. Your writer took the minister's statements out of context. The essence of the minister's tone is that of accountability from the judiciary, not a blame game.
The minister stands by his mantra that the justice system can be effective and efficient and that cases can be tried in a more timely manner, but in no way is the minister bashing or blasting judges.
Our erudite judges are diligent, thorough, and hard-working. They have to carry out this crucial task placed on them in less-than-ideal circumstances, and we must applaud them for the indelible contribution that they have made to the justice sector.
We must, however, hasten to point to another story carried in your Sunday paper (July 24, 2016), 'Chuck vows to fix problems facing judges', which was the total opposite of the one under question. That previous story reflected the precise stance of the minister in carrying out the justice portfolio.
Minister Chuck is very serious about justice reform. He adopts a no-nonsense approach, but this must not be seen as a jab against any hard-working member of the judiciary and court staff. Indeed, the justice system is below the benchmark, but we want to forge partnerships to secure reform, and the task is set before us, not to do it later, but to address it now.
The Ministry of Justice and the honourable minister are cognisant of the challenges facing our judiciary and will do all they can to remedy this. In the interim, all stakeholders have to work together to rectify the backlog in cases and to work seamlessly to provide a justice system that builds and restores confidence in the Jamaican people.
We cannot relieve ourselves of duty during troublesome and challenging times but must commit to justice reform and move to achieving our 2030 vision of making "Jamaica, the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business", this, through a fair and efficient justice framework.
MARIE THERESA HENRY
Public Relations Officer
Ministry of Justice