Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, says the Morant Bay Courthouse in St. Thomas will be restored shortly.
Speaking at a seminar for justices of the peace (JPs) on June 7 at the Morant Villas in Morant Bay, the Minister said the building, which was destroyed by fire more than a decade ago, will be a showpiece to lift the parish.
“We want to put it together, and make it what it is supposed to be – a nice courthouse and a Justice Centre, and also a facility of which St. Thomas can be proud,” the Minister said.
He underscored that with the statue of National Hero, the Rt. Excellent Paul Bogle, located in front of the building, the facility must be given credence.
“We must put it together, and during the course of this fiscal year, we are going to let this courthouse come alive again,” the Minister added.
For her part, Custos of the parish, Hon. Marcia Bennett, called on the JPs to use their office to “change the lives of children”, and for the promotion of “family values”.
Meanwhile, Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation in Jamaica, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, said the JPs need to remain the “eyes and ears” of communities, so that the abused and those who feel that wrongs are committed against them can always turn to someone.
“You have to see what happens in your community, and reach out to people, if you want to provide that link with the system and more justice for your community,” the Ambassador said.
Justice centres offer several Alternative Dispute Resolution (ARD) services under one umbrella at the parish level. They accept and coordinate court referrals, using ADR mechanisms such as Restorative Justice and Child Diversion.
In addition, communities, schools and other entities may utilise the services at the centres.
The primary objectives of the centres include expansion of the justice system’s capacity for quasi-judicial proceedings, to reduce the cost of accessing justice to Jamaicans; reduction of case backlog; and to improve the system to meet the demands of the public.