Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government is committed to making the justice system robust, efficient and more capable of serving the interests of all Jamaicans.
It is in pursuit of this goal, he said, that “we are seeking to improve and strengthen the rule of law, and pursue timely justice outcomes. We are also updating a numbers of laws to make them more relevant to today’s realities.”
The Prime Minister was delivering the keynote address at the Jamaica Information Service’s (JIS) 2020 Heritage Competition Awards ceremony on Wednesday (December 23).
The made-for-television event was broadcast on television and social media platforms.
A total of 11 students at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels were presented with awards for outstanding essays, posters and photographs, under the theme: ‘I Promise to Stand Up For Justice, Brotherhood and Peace’.
Speaking on the theme, the Prime Minister said that advocacy for ‘Justice Brotherhood and Peace’ is nothing new to Jamaica, noting that the country was at the forefront of the fight against slavery, the push for independence throughout the region as well as the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa.
“We are fighters for justice. Our cultural expressions reflect this, particularly our literary works and music, which is played all over the world and has inspired many social and political movements against injustice and oppression,” he said.
“It is a legacy that the Government is committed to protecting and honouring,” the Prime Minister pledged.
He said that the theme presents an opportunity for the youth to provide honest commentary and direction on the issue of justice in Jamaica, noting that the entries captured some of the key points of focus for the Government.
He highlighted one photo entry, which depicted a woman preparing to rip the tape off her mouth, to break the code of silence surrounding violence in communities.
“If you don’t say what you know, justice might be delayed or even denied. Like this woman, we all must be ready to give the information that is required to allow justice to prevail,” the Prime Minister said.
Citing another photograph, which shines a light on justice for children, he reiterated the Government’s determination to bring an end to violence against children, including corporal punishment in schools and all types of abuse.
“We are also committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment for our children in State care. We want our children to grow, flourish and live to achieve their true purpose,” the Prime Minister said.
“Justice is more that fixing the courts. It is doing right by our children and the Government will continue to do right by our children by making the policy choices that will enable them to have a better quality of life,” Mr. Holness added.