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Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, yesterday (February 5) signed an agreement for a C$500,000 contribution from the Canadian-Caribbean Cooperation Fund (CCF) to further develop the Restorative Justice Programme in Jamaica.
Minister Lightbourne explained that the Ministry of Justice has been mandated to establish a Restorative Justice Programme in several communities over a two-year period. The agreement forms part of that mandate.
“We are now at Phase Three of the Project, which was initiated with a formal request from the Ministry of Justice to the Canadian-Caribbean Fund to extend the end-date, in order to complete the final activities of the project,” she explained at the signing, which took place at the Canadian High Commission in Kingston.
Phase III of the Restorative Justice Programme builds on the earlier phases that have been supported by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the CCF.
According to Miss Lightbourne, upon completion, the project will provide more facilitators of restorative justice.
“Under this final phase, the objective is to implement training interventions to facilitate technology and knowledge transfer to key personnel. It is anticipated that the successful implementation of this phase will result in Jamaica having an adequate number of persons, from a wide cross section of the society, as facilitators of restorative justice processes,” she noted.
“Focus will be placed on public consultations, the development of customised training interventions in restorative justice and the development of mechanisms for pilots in communities, as well as the broad engagement of the Jamaican people through individuals, institutions and community groups”, she added.
Echoing the Minister’s sentiments, Canadian High Commissioner, His Excellency, Denis Kingsley, said his country was very pleased to support Jamaica’s justice system. He also pointed out that the signing of the agreement showed a commitment to continue working with Jamaica to achieve justice reform.
“This public signing of the contribution agreement is a commitment to partner with the Jamaican Government on justice reform. Our hope is that as citizens, stakeholders and practitioners of justice in Jamaica are trained in restorative justice, and begin to implement its elements, that it will be one pivotal strategy that history will record and bring about a responsive justice system,” he emphasised.
The programme is being implemented over the period April, 2008 to December, 2009.