Major Improvements Coming for Justice System

Story Highlights

  • Justice Minister, Hon. Delroy Chuck, says major improvements are coming for the justice sector.
  • He said that as part of the improvements, the Ministry intends to expand the legal-aid services “to make sure that the vulnerable and marginalised persons in our society, and those who find themselves in conflict with the law, have access to justice”.
  • “One of the things that we would like to assist in clearing up the backlog, especially of criminal cases in the court, is that more accused persons need to come forward and admit that they have committed a crime,” he said.

Justice Minister, Hon. Delroy Chuck, says major improvements are coming for the justice sector.

He said the objective is to make more resources available to the system “so that justice can be more easily accessible and delivered in a more timely manner”.

Minister Chuck was addressing a long-service awards banquet for Justices of the Peace (JP) for Westmoreland held on December 10 at the Hotel Commingle in Savanna-la-Mar.

He said that as part of the improvements, the Ministry intends to expand the legal-aid services “to make sure that the vulnerable and marginalised persons in our society, and those who find themselves in conflict with the law, have access to justice”.

He noted that the mobile legal-aid clinic is making a difference in the delivery of justice, with 8,000 Jamaicans benefiting from legal service and advice to date.

Minister Chuck said the Government is also looking at expunging the records of persons who have committed non-fatal offences and agree to enter guilty pleas in exchange for lighter sentences.

“One of the things that we would like to assist in clearing up the backlog, especially of criminal cases in the court, is that more accused persons need to come forward and admit that they have committed a crime,” he said.

Turning to other matters, the Justice Minister called on all citizens to “reflect on and make a determined effort to reset the compass of human rights in Jamaica”.

He said that the country has a good record in advancing human rights, going back to the fight against apartheid in South Africa.

“Jamaica has played an important role in the international arena to advance the human rights of others. We were the first country to declare an embargo against the apartheid regime in South Africa. It was Jamaica that proposed to the United Nations that 1968 be declared International Year for Human Rights. It was accepted and that became a watershed year for human rights,” he pointed out.

Mr. Chuck said that Jamaica has also ratified several human rights conventions, covenants and treaties, including the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in 1971 and the 1984 Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

He pointed out that in an effort to protect and safeguard the rights of Jamaicans, a number of institutions have been established, including the Office of the Public Defender, which will soon be renamed the Institute for Human Rights, the Child Development Agency (CDA), and the Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA).

Minister Chuck congratulated the 10 JPs who were recognised for long service, noting that the parish and the justice system have benefited immensely from their contribution.

“I have no doubt that the work you have given over the years is well appreciated and most of you will continue to do the work,” he said.

Those honoured are Ray Arthurs, Winston Barrett, Pearlena Blagrove, Earle Brooks, Winston Finnikin, Leonard Gammon, Russell Hammond, Glazeter Leslie, Madge Morris and Jenice Scott.

The function was organised by the Westmoreland chapter of the Lay Magistrates’ Association of Jamaica.

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