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  • Public sector professionals responsible for the drafting of legislation are being urged to carry out this duty with the utmost rigour and diligence.
  • The charge comes from Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, who said that there is no place for “intellectual laziness and sloppiness” in the country’s legislative development process.
  • The Minister was addressing a Legislative Development Forum today (May 4), at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston.

Public sector professionals responsible for the drafting of legislation are being urged to carry out this duty with the utmost rigour and diligence.

The charge comes from Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, who said that there is no place for “intellectual laziness and sloppiness” in the country’s legislative development process.

“There is no escaping it – legislative development requires a disciplined, rigorous approach to the pre-drafting work,” he said, noting that the process needs to be improved.

The Minister was addressing a Legislative Development Forum today (May 4), at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston.

He pointed out that good legislation is empowering and among other things, can promote better governance, strengthen democracy and deepen the protection of human rights.

He noted that while Parliamentarians are often chided over the slow pace of introducing legislative reforms, invariably, it is the public sector, driven by the policies of the Government, who must carry the weight of bringing legislation forward.

He said the role of Parliamentarians in the process is the “mere icing on the cake, coming in very much at the back end of an extensive process,” which normally involves the participation of technocrats, policy-makers, legal experts and drafters, and long hours of research, analysis, drafting and repeated review.

He noted that the Government has been working to improve the legislative development process, by bolstering and expanding the capacity of the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, which, despite capacity constraints, continues to do “commendable work”.

The Minister informed that under the Justice Undertakings for Social Transformation (JUST) Programme, recruiting is now underway to boost staff complement, with the addition of new drafting posts at a sufficiently senior level, to increase the capacity to address the Government’s legislative agenda.

“We are also seeking, through the JUST Programme, to provide specialised professional training development opportunities for members of staff,” the Minister said.

In his remarks, Counsellor and Head, Development Cooperation, High Commission of Canada, Walter Bernyck, congratulated the Ministry of Justice and the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, for the work that has been done to improve the justice sector in Jamaica.

He pointed out that Canada is currently providing support to Jamaica to assist with the implementation of the justice reform agenda through the $20 million JUST Programme.

“We are very proud to be partners with Jamaica in this initiative,” he said, adding that the work to be undertaken aims to change the way that business is done in the justice sector.

This includes improving the quality of drafting instructions so that the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel can be more efficient in drafting legislation.