JIS News

Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, has said that the new Justice Undertakings for Social Transformation (JUST) project will strengthen the judicial system, by improving the security and protection of citizens.
One area which will certainly benefit, is in the training of Justices of the Peace (JPs), who are to be given additional responsibilities and more important functions, she said.
“Instead of just signing papers, they can hear traffic cases, they can help with some of the matrimonial cases. They will be able to take on some of the less serious cases that the Resident Magistrates’ are doing, so that they can get on with other cases,” she explained.
Senator Lightbourne was speaking at the 20th Annual General Meeting of the National Association of Hairdressers and Cosmetologists (NHC), at the HEART School of Cosmetology, 10 Hope Road, Kingston, today (April 27).
On April 21, Prime Minister Bruce Golding, and Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), at Jamaica House, which will see Canada providing some C$18 million (J$1.2 billion) funding support, over four years, for the judicial reformation process.
The JUST programme aims to foster a sense of security among Jamaicans, by contributing to the enhancement of the justice system. The funds will be used for capacity building, which includes provisions for the training of legal draftsmen to reduce the bottleneck in the legislative process.
In highlighting some of the benefits to be derived from the programme, Senator Lightbourne said that training will be an integral component.
“Coming under that, we are going to have the Justice Training Institute which is going to train all levels of persons within the justice system, such as the judges, the Resident Magistrates, the Justices of the Peace (JPs). and other court personnel,” the Attorney General continued.
Senator Lightbourne added that there will also be training for the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, which will ensure that there is research and that all aspects are covered.
In the meantime, the Minister said that plans are ongoing for the construction and expansion of courthouses, as there is a shortage of courtroom spaces.
In the Estimates of Expenditure, tabled in the House of Representative recently, some $402 million were granted for improvements to and construction of courthouses during this fiscal year.
She said that the National Commercial Bank (NCB) building, 52-54 King Street, Kingston, will be purchased and the basement, ground and first floors renovated to become part of an extended Supreme Court complex. She also noted that the Ministry is seeking to acquire another building on King Street to expand the Supreme Court, by building a bridge to the location.
She said that at the Conference Centre in downtown Kingston, three of the caucus rooms have been changed to courtrooms.
“So we have created three civil courtrooms at the Conference Centre and brought on two more Gun Courts, so we now have three Gun Courts,” she said.
This is in an effort to speed up and get rid of the gun crimes, she said, adding that “once they (criminals) know that they will be caught and brought speedily to trial, they will think twice.”
Senator Lightbourne commended the NAHC for the role it has been playing over the years, and pointed out that hairdressers and cosmetologists were very influential persons in the community.
“You interact with the public.this is where information goes and comes, and I know how influential you can be,” she commented.

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