JIS News

Beginning March 15, the Jamaica Justice Reform Task Force will be undertaking public consultations across the island, to facilitate wide public participation in the justice system reform process.
Speaking with JIS News, Chairman of the Task Force, Professor Barrington Chevannes, informed that four working groups have been set up across the island, which “will arrange within their geographic area, wide consultation with the general public”.
“Data from these consultations will be added to what the task force has to deliberate on,” he noted.
The first set of consultations will be held on March 15 at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston, the Baptist Church Hall in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, and the Morant Bay Parish Church in St. Thomas. The sessions are scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., respectively.
Other consultations have been scheduled for Carter Hall in Half-Way-Tree on March 20, starting at 5:00 p.m., St. Helens Catholic Church in Linstead at 6:00 p.m. on March 20, and at Ascot Hall, Old Harbour on March 29, commencing at 5:00 p.m. The sessions are expected to continue throughout April, ending with a national consultation in May.
Members of the public are encouraged to observe the schedules and attend the sessions in their area, in order to relate their experiences with the justice system, and make their recommendations.
Noting that the system of justice begins with the police, who are in the employ of the Ministry of National Security, Professor Chevannes explained that the aspect of the system with which the task force is concerned is more linked to operations of the courts. “When we speak of the justice system, for the purposes of this task force, we are limiting it to the procedures within the courts,” he said.
Meanwhile, the public may also interact with the reform process by utilizing its dedicated toll-free hotline, 1-888-4JUSTICE or 1-888-4-587-8423.
“We have set up a hotline at the Ministry to allow anyone and everyone who wishes to call in to give their views and opinions about the justice system,” informed Professor Chevannes. “We are hoping that the hotline will be really hot, and that it never stops burning, as people call in to give their views,” he added.
Project Manager, Peter Parchment pointed out that persons may interact with the Justice reform process through the Ministry of Justice’s website or by accessing the management group at NCB South Tower, 11th Floor, 2 Oxford Road, Kingston 5.
Mr. Parchment said that through the consultations, the hotline and by accepting written communications, the task force was opening the door for persons to submit their perspectives on the critical areas for reform of the justice system.
“This feedback will allow us to use this information to better craft the kind of recommendations that will allow for effective implementation within the short, medium and long term,” he said.