Justice Minister Delroy Chuck said that five more judges will be appointed to the Court of Appeal to bring the full complement of judges to twelve. The Minister said that this would reduce the backlog of cases in the Court.
The Minister was speaking at a recent town hall meeting with 120 Justices of the Peace which took place at the Cruise Shipping Pier in Ocho Rios, St. Ann.
“The problem that we are having is that we have nowhere to accommodate them. I hope that the refurbishment and renovation of the Oceana building will be completed shortly so that the Accountant General Department may be relocated and the facilities upgraded to allow for the judges to be appointed and working.”
The Minister said that there was now a backlog of cases at this level of the Court system because there were only seven judges serving at that level.
Minister Chuck also promised three pieces of legislation that would be introduced shortly to improve the administration of the justice system. They include new sentencing guidelines which will be included in the Criminal Justice (Plea Negotiations and Agreement) Act, Arbitration Act and the legislation to empower custodes to decommission those JPs who have brought the vocation into disrepute.
Also speaking at the function was Mrs. Carol Palmer, Permanent Secretary who encouraged JPs to be brave to stop the 20,000 criminals who we are told are holding the country at ransom.
“We must move from a culture of informer ‘fe ded’ to a culture of informer to be encouraged,” she argued.
High Commissioner for Canada to Jamaica speaks about investments in justice sector reform
Later that day at a sensitisation meeting of community leaders in St. Ann, High Commissioner for Canada to Jamaica His Excellency Sylvain Fabi told community leaders in St. Ann that Jamaica had a partner to strengthen and improve the justice system. He said that Canada’s support to Jamaica’s legal and judicial sector includes $20M investment for the Justice Undertakings for Social Transformation (JUST) Program and $20M to the Citizen Security and Justice Program (CSJP).
“We also support the work of the Jamaica Constabulary Force in areas such as polygraph operations, cyber-security and maritime border security.” The High Commissioner said that the meeting with community leaders was pivotal in the process of improving how the justice system functions.
The Ministry of Justice is on a drive to sensitize community leaders on the various services of the Ministry. This was the third sensitization meeting held since September 01. More than 300 community leaders have so far been sensitized.
By: Sandra Graham