JIS News

Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Senator the Hon. Dorothy Lightbourne, has announced that a major step is being taken to reduce bottlenecks in the legislative process by providing improved and more timely legislative drafting services.
To this end, two highly skilled Canadian legislative drafters are expected in the island by late this month, to assist the Government with drafting several pieces of legislation. This will provide support not only to staff members in the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel but also assist in the training of trainers to build capacity in the wider public service.
Canadian legislative drafting expert, Sandra Markman, was in Jamaica for two weeks in July, to begin the process of addressing the legislative bottlenecks. Ms. Markman, the Chief Parliamentary Counsel and his Deputy presented a pilot course on legislative procedures to members of selected Government Ministries and departments.
Senator Lightbourne said that her Ministry is also strengthening the institutional capacity of the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel to ensure that timely drafting services are available to Ministries and their agencies.
The assistance from the Canadians forms part of the agreement under the Justice Undertakings for Social Transformation (JUST) Programme.
Senator Lightbourne said that the JUST Programme aims to foster a sense of security among Jamaicans, by contributing to the enhancement of the justice system.
The Canadian Government, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), in April 2009, agreed to provide CAD$18 million for this four-year project.
There are three pillars of the JUST programme:
. Order in institutions- notably strengthening justice institutions so that they are better able to contribute to law and order;
. Order in legislation- promoting legislative and policy reforms that better position the state to ensure good governance and security; and
. Order in society- encouraging communities to provide input into justice system reform. This aspect of the programme is designed to enhance public safety.
The CAD$18 million will be used to fund the three pillars of the JUST Programme.
Field Director for the JUST Programme, Scott Beazley, assumed duties on August 3, 2009 and is expected to be in the island for two years.
Mr. Beazley said the assistance from the Canadian drafters is part of his Government’s ongoing commitment to the order in legislation pillar.
Meanwhile, Mr. Beazley said that the JUST Programme is to immediately provide financial assistance for the training of a staff member in the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, who will be pursuing a Master of Laws degree in Legislative Drafting at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus in Barbados.

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