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Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, is appealing to Justices of the Peace (JPs) to support the Restorative Justice Consultations being held islandwide.
“Restorative Justice is an area that my Ministry has been focusing on. Many of you Justices of the Peace have been participating in the series of community consultations that are now being held islandwide, in which your input is being sought as we prepare for the drafting of a national policy. I hope you have all been filling in the forms, and seeing to it that persons who attend these meetings, fill in the forms because questions are being asked of the participants,” she stated.
The Justice Minister was addressing the 23rd Annual General Meeting of the Lay Magistrates Association of Jamaica in Kingston recently.
According to Senator Lightbourne, the feedback from the Restorative Justice Consultations are of particular importance, as they will assist the consultant in developing a national policy.
“We want to develop a Jamaican national policy, and this is why these consultations are taking place. So it is very important that these forms are filled in, and when we get the views and the input, the consultant, who will be helping to draft the policy, will have these. We, in fact, have advertised in Jamaica, for persons who will assist in developing this policy,” she emphasised.
In the meantime, the Justice Minister lauded the work of the JPs, citing them as “cornerstones” of the society.
“For decades, you ‘good and lawful’ Jamaican men and women have been the “cornerstone’ of our Justice system; a system which has embraced the idea that ‘justice should be done by ordinary people’- and you ‘ordinary people’, ordinary men and women have done and continue to do extraordinary things. For that we thank you,” Senator Lightbourne said.
“Today”, she added, “the role of Justices of the Peace, or Lay Magistrates, within the community as a peacemaker, continues to be very relevant. And this becomes more so, as the Ministry of Justice embarks on more community-based conflict resolution mechanisms, for example Community Justice Tribunals and Restorative Justice”.
To date, 13 consultations have been held on restorative justice in seven parishes, with at least nine scheduled consultations remaining.