JIS News

The Jamaican Justice System Reform (JJSR) Project has moved to the next stage with a series of public consultations which begins this Thursday, March 15 at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, starting at 3:00 p.m., with concurrent sessions at the Morant Bay Parish Church, St. Thomas, beginning at 6:00 p.m., and at the Baptist Church Hall in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, commencing at 5:00 p.m.
The public discussions are being organised by the Regional Working Groups (RWG’s), which were established to advance the justice transformation initiative at the local level. The concept of RWG’s is also intended to create a greater sense of public ownership of this programme through the setting up of four such entities: South Eastern, comprising Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Catherine and St. Thomas; and South Central, which includes the parishes of Clarendon, Manchester and St. Elizabeth.
Westmoreland, Hanover, St. James and Trelwany form the Western Regional Working Group, while St. Ann, St. Mary and Portland make up the North Western zone.
The chairman of the Task Force, Professor Barry Chevannes, in calling on well-meaning citizens to participate in the public consultation, noted that all strata of the Jamaican society are being given the chance to contribute to the transformation of the justice sector, which is intended to serve all of us well into the future.
“There can be nothing to gain if citizens do not air their views and suggestions now, and choose instead to criticize when the recommendations garnered to date are being put in place,” he pointed out.
Since the inception of the reform exercise in October last year, the project team has met with a number of special interest groups. In addition, persons have been invited to deliberate on a number of issue papers, as well as undertake detailed research in several areas of the Jamaican justice system.
The processes in the island’s court have also come under scrutiny by the project team, led by the Canadian Bar Association, resulting in the implementation of international best practices on a pilot basis at the May Pen Resident Magistrate’s Court. The insights gained from the Pilot Court site will inform the broader system improvement in the nation’s court offices.