Public Defender Opens Office in Montego Bay

Photo: Avair Nembhard

Story Highlights

  • Residents of western Jamaica will now have easier access to the services of the Public Defender, with the opening of a Regional Office in Montego Bay, St. James, on January 5.
  • The Custos said that while he is cognizant that the task will not be easy for the administrators of the office, he encouraged them to always practise fairness while building and strengthening the relationship with the public.
  • The Office of the Public Defender is a Commission of Parliament established by Section 4 of the Public Defender (Interim) Act 2000. Under the Act, the Public Defender is empowered to investigate any action taken by any authority in exercise of its administrative functions, which results in injustice to any persons or body of persons or infringes the constitutional rights, or is likely to infringe the constitutional rights of any person.

Residents of western Jamaica will now have easier access to the services of the Public Defender, with the opening of a regional office in Montego Bay, St. James, on January 5.

The office, which will serve the parishes of Hanover, Westmoreland, St. Elizabeth, Trelawny and St. James, was officially opened at shop 18, St. Claver Avenue.

Delivering the keynote address, Custos of St. James, Hon. Ewen Corrodus, said the office will provide an avenue through which Jamaicans can have better access to justice.

“It is no secret that legal fees are expensive, and many Jamaicans are unable to afford the help they need. This is all the more reason why this office is so welcome in western Jamaica,” he said.

The Custos said that while he is cognisant that the task will not be easy for the administrators of the office, he encouraged them to always practise fairness while building and strengthening the relationship with the public.

In this regard, he charged the citizens of the parish to support the team in its work, and reminded them of their duty to all be ‘public defenders’.

For her part, Public Defender, Mrs. Arlene Harrison Henry, reassured the citizens that the office will continue to protect and enforce the rights of all Jamaicans, ensuring that all have equal access to justice.

“The Office of the Public Defender is a critical institution to provide access to justice. I ask you to continue to give interest in this office, to communicate with us and to be partners in our journey, as we seek to provide more avenues for every citizen to have better access to justice and access to the work of our office,” she outlined.

Meanwhile, Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Homer Davis, said the move to open a permanent office in the western part of the island is a signal of commitment to broaden the scope of services offered and enhancing the justice system in the region.

“I cannot overemphasise the importance of this office in its quest to ensure that Jamaicans have a dedicated system to protect, enforce and defend the rights and foster the culture of accountability and justice,” he said.

The Office of the Public Defender is a Commission of Parliament established by Section 4 of the Public Defender (Interim) Act 2000. Under the Act, the Public Defender is empowered to investigate any action taken by any authority in the exercise of its administrative functions that results in injustice to any person or body of persons or infringes the constitutional rights or is likely to infringe the constitutional rights of any person.

JIS Social