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Senator A.J. Nicholson, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, has charged court administrators to bear the burden of providing effective leadership in the court system in order to ensure good team work for the timely dispensing of justice.
He noted that given the public’s expectation of efficient and instant service from the courts, the administrator was expected to provide that added surge so that those who had to do business in the courts were made to feel welcome and satisfied.
The Justice Minister was addressing a graduation exercise held on March 2 at the Justice Training Institute in Kingston, where some 130 professionals in the public and private sectors received certificates, having successfully completed courses in computer applications, sign language competence, legal administration, financial crimes investigation, and accounting policies and procedures. A total of 44 court administrators attached to resident magistrates courts across the island participated in the latter course.
The court administrator is responsible for planning, organizing and coordinating the administrative functions of the court. Because the administrator is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the court, including providing support for the judge and clerk of court, Senator Nicholson said, he/she must have effective communication skills, be computer literate, have a visionary approach, be able to manage budgets and finances, have knowledge of personnel supervision and possess excellent people skills.
He therefore lauded the Justice Training Institute for its efforts to equip the administrators with these competencies. “It is expected that the training, which has been afforded this group of court administrators, will bring home to them, the requirement for enhanced performance to make for an ever improving and effective delivery of service to our people,” he stated.
“Significantly, the systems that are in place to ensure accountability in our courts is greatly strengthened by this kind of initiative,” he further added.
Minister Nicholson also expressed pleasure at the number of persons, who participated in the financial crimes investigations course, which were drawn from public and private sector institutions such as the Ministry of Finance and Planning, the Bank of Jamaica, the Bank of Nova Scotia and Pan Caribbean Merchant Bank.
He urged decision makers in the private sector to encourage and facilitate their staff to take part in programmes that were provided by public sector learning institutions such as the Justice Training Institute. “Private sector workers, who attend these training exercises at the Institute, can become exposed to the nuances of the public sector and are therefore in a better position to give advice to their superiors at the workplace. Knowing what is acceptable and what is not can minimize or eliminate delays and make for enhanced business efficiency,” Senator Nicholson pointed out.
He also stressed, that “players in the private sector must have more than a passing knowledge of how the justice system works, why there are rules and regulations and what they are meant to do. The pursuit of social justice encompasses matters that are far wider in scope for it speaks to the development of a wholesome society underpinned by a profound respect for the law and a commitment to good social order”. Turning to the graduates, he charged them to view the training as important for the improvement of Jamaica. The Justice Training Institute was established in 1997, with the aim of offering training for the justice system, thus contributing to improvements in the quality of justice. The fact that 667 participants were enrolled in the various training courses in 2004/2005, Minister Nicholson said, was powerful evidence of the need of such an institution. He took note of the steady increase in enrollment in the Institute’s training programmes over the years, including the highly specialized sign language course. “For me, this must surely auger well for the justice system as it means that accessibility and participation in the legal system are enhanced. This is the right of every Jamaican including those who are challenged in some way,” Senator Nicholson stated.