JIS News

Moves are afoot to establish a Community Justice Tribunal in the inner-city community of Granville, St. James, as that community is targeted to be one of the pilots in a planned Restorative Justice System, to be introduced in the island.
At a public consultation, staged by the Ministry of Justice, in collaboration with a number of other Government agencies, at the Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College, in Granville, on August 19, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Carol Palmer, pointed out that the community is one of several targeted for the implementation of a Restorative Justice System.
She said the Government is committed to the introduction of restorative practices in the delivery of justice to citizens, and as such a national policy on Restorative Justice is to be approved by Cabinet.
Some 20 consultations are planned to take place across the island, to provide a platform for national discourse around key elements that would inform the policy, she explained.
“We chose Granville, both for this consultation, as well as to be one of the communities that we are going to work with to introduce Restorative Justice fully, and to establish a Community Justice Tribunal,” she outlined.
“That is because you (as a community), have your issues, but you invited us to come and join hands with you, to make your community a better place,” Mrs. Palmer said.
She explained that a draft of the Restorative Justice Policy was handed over to the Ministry in June of this year, and the consultations must take place as part of the process to move towards implementation by the Government. She emphasised the importance of people participation in the process, for the eventual Restorative Justice System to work.
Underscoring the necessity for some form of conflict resolution within the society, the Permanent Secretary argued that it is inevitable that conflicts will arise among human beings within a society.
“The important thing is how we treat with those conflicts, or how we minimise the intensity or the depth of those conflicts. That is how we bring Restorative Justice practices into play, to see how we can live more cordially with each other,” she said.
Meanwhile, Senior Superintendent of Police in Area 1, Paul Ferguson, voiced his approval for a Restorative Justice System, adding that it could be an avenue through which the island’s prison population is minimised and becomes more manageable.
Also present at the consultation were Superintendents of Police in charge of St. James and Hanover, Steve McGregor and Dermot Lawrence, respectively, and President of the St. James Lay Magistrates Association, Enel Brydson.