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Story Highlights

  • Children’s Advocate, Diahann Gordon Harrison has lauded the Jamaican justice system as one of the best in the Commonwealth.
  • She argued that the current court processes and systems have not been sustainably monitored to accommodate the increasing child population that uses its services.
  • The Child Justice Guidelines as a practical resource handbook, with standardised guidelines that will inform the approach taken by all persons.

Children’s Advocate, Diahann Gordon Harrison has lauded the Jamaican justice system as one of the best in the Commonwealth.

She however acknowledged that like all other justice systems, there is need for tweaking, and continuous re-examination, in order to improve the service delivery.

Mrs. Gordon Harrison made the comments on Wednesday, April 16, while addressing a two-day training seminar for police personnel and Justices of the Peace, from St. Mary and St. Ann, to familiarise them with the Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA) publication – ‘Child Justice Guidelines’.

The seminar is being held at the Jewel Runaway Bay Beach and Golf Resort, in Runaway Bay from April 16 to 17.

Outlining some of the issues, which led to the compilation of the guidelines, she argued that the current court processes and systems have not been sustainably monitored to accommodate the increasing child population that uses its services.

She said that the publication of the Child Justice Guidelines has therefore come at the right time, for the services offered by the justice system to be more reflective of the different population groups that it serves, and more responsive to the needs of those groups that come in contact with the system.

She described the Child Justice Guidelines as a practical resource handbook, with standardised guidelines that will inform the approach taken by all persons.

“We want a child to have an expectation that the justice system will deliver quality services no matter the personality with whom they have to deal,” she said.

Mrs. Gordon Harrison appealed for the full use of the handbook, and the guidelines.

Meanwhile, Custos of St. Ann, Hon. Norma Walters commended the OCA for the production of the handbook, describing it as a very user-friendly, concise, and comprehensive reference tool.

She also hailed the nation’s children as its greatest natural resource, appealing for their protection.

The 78-page Child Justice Guidelines was launched on November 20, 2013, and is the first of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean and Latin America.

It contains procedural guidelines, aimed at ensuring that the rights and best interest of children who come in contact, or conflict with the law, are upheld and observed at all times.