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Story Highlights

  • The Government is spending just under $7 billion to implement the current justice-reform programme.
  • The Justice Ministry, under the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (SCJP) has acquired a bus which will be moving across the island, assisting persons with legal services that they may require.
  • The Jamaican Justice System Reform (JJSR) project was established by the Government of Jamaica to undertake a comprehensive review of the state of the justice system and to develop strategies and mechanisms to facilitate its modernisation, so that it is better able to meet the current and future needs of Jamaicans.

The Government is spending just under $7 billion to implement the current justice-reform programme.

This was disclosed by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Carol Palmer, during a press conference held at the Ministry’s Constant Spring Road offices today (November 15).

The Permanent Secretary pointed out that funding is being provided up to the fiscal year 2019/20.

“Our strategic objectives include fair and timely resolution of cases. We will focus on completing the Case Inventory Management System, video, audio and transcription technology and comprehensive restructuring of the jury system,” Mrs. Palmer said.

Focus is also being placed on improving access to justice by focusing on mobile services and expanding the jurisdiction of Justices of the Peace.

The Permanent Secretary said the Ministry, under the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) has acquired a bus which will be moving across the island, assisting persons with legal services that they may require.

The Ministry is also seeking to strengthen the judiciary and workforce by enhancing the institutional capacity of the Chief Justice, introducing a Court Administration Division of the Supreme Court, thereby strengthening administrative support to the Chief Justice and the Chief Parish Judge.

Other objectives include strengthening linkages between justice-sector institutions such as the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, Attorney General’s Department and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Plans are in place to establish a sound court infrastructure to facilitate access to persons with disabilities, enhance the security for judges and other court staff and install customer-friendly signage.

“We have done work in Santa Cruz and we have a consultancy under way now to advise us on what is required in all the other courts of the land,” Mrs. Palmer said, adding that a court facilities master plan will be developed.

The Permanent Secretary said focus will be placed on strengthening public trust and confidence through anti-corruption policies, such as the anti-corruption legislation which was tabled recently in the House of Representatives.

“Jamaicans should begin to see significant results in terms of turnaround times, access to justice for marginalised groups such as the poor and mentally ill, far fewer children facing formal prosecution in the criminal justice system and more cases being tried in the expanded courts of petty sessions,” Mrs. Palmer said.

The Jamaican Justice System Reform (JJSR) project was established by the Government of Jamaica to undertake a comprehensive review of the state of the justice system and to develop strategies and mechanisms to facilitate its modernisation, so that it is better able to meet the current and future needs of Jamaicans.

Several recommendations from the report of the JJSR Task Force have so far been implemented. The ongoing activities to implement the remaining recommendations have been incorporated into the Justice Reform Implementation Plan.