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The Canadian Government has pledged C$18 million (J$1.2 billion) to Jamaica’s Justice Undertakings for Social Transformation (JUST) Programme, which was formally launched at Jamaica House today (April 21).
Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding, and his Canadian counterpart, the Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which will see the funds being channelled into Jamaica’s justice system over the next four years.
The JUST programme aims to foster a sense of security among Jamaicans, by contributing to the enhancement of the justice system. The Canadian funds will be used for capacity building and includes provisions for the training of legal draftsmen to reduce the bottleneck in the legislative process.
In a brief address, following the signing, Mr. Golding said the funds will be used, primarily, for capacity building and training. Noting the importance of justice reform, he described it as an “essential element to economic development.”
“Investment activity does not thrive in a country that is not supported by a good, strong, effective justice system. It is a situation in which we win on all fronts,” he said.
In his address, Prime Minister Harper said Canada recognises the challenges, related to crime and security, which Jamaica faces. He pointed out that both countries were affected in this regard, as are others globally.
He said that Canada’s investment will support legislative reform to modernise the justice system, and help to identify shortcomings in managing, financing, and organisation of justice institutions.
“Stronger justice institutions will help Jamaica (to) build stronger, safer communities. Canada and Jamaica share basic values – democracy, good governance, and the rule of law – Canada will support you every step of the way, as you strengthen your justice institutions,” he assured.
The MoU signing was part of the itinerary for the two-day visit by Mr. Harper, who flew to Jamaica on Sunday night (April 19) after the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago. He left the island today (Tuesday April 21) for home.