JIS News

With Restorative and Community Justice (RCJ) Week 2011 coming to a close on the weekend, Justice Reform Co-ordinator in the Ministry of Justice,  Beverley Little, is   appealing  to  persons to support the Grand Gala Concert at Emancipation Park on Saturday, February 5.

"This concert will feature several top local artistes and promises to be a fun filled family event. So I am encouraging all interested persons to make the trip and enjoy the free concert. It will start at approximately 6:00 p.m.," she explained.

Some of the performers include the Hanna Town Drama Group, Prodigal Son, Kimelia Issacs and the Andrews Memorial Church Singers, the Northern Caribbean University Choir, Tivoli Dancers, and  Abijah.

In the meantime, she pointed out that the response to RCJ Week 2011 has been phenomenal.

"I am extremely pleased with the response that we have received towards this initiative, from residents in the pilot communities to Jamaicans at large. This shows that our messages are connecting with the people and they see the value of RCJ. I am hopeful that this response to the activities of the week will translate into persons practising RCJ with the facilitators islandwide," Miss Little explained during an interview with JIS News.

The fifth annual RCJ Week  is being held under the theme "Restorative and Community Justice Restoring Relationships; Building Communities".

"We began the week's activities with a Church Service at Church on the Rock in Kingston which was well attended by many of the stakeholders involved in the RCJ process. We were treated to the RCJ jingle ‘We can work it out' and a television feature highlighting what RCJ is and how it works", she informed, while pointing out that all the activities done throughout the week have been focused on promoting community ownership of RCJ through education, empowerment and collaboration.

This, she said, was most evident with the several RCJ facilitators who travelled to educational institutions, mainly in Clarendon, St. Catherine and St. Elizabeth, to speak about the RCJ and other related topics. The institutions included Bethlehem Moravian College, Jonathan Grant High, St. Jago High, the Young Womens' Christian Association (YWCA) in Catherine, Vere Technical, Bustamante High, Ebony Grove Comprehensive High, and St. Augustine Boys Home in Clarendon.

Restorative Justice provides alternative mechanisms for resolving disputes by bringing the victim,  offender, community and state together to work out problems arising from petty crime, anti- social behaviour, quarrels and other disagreements within the community. RCJ is being piloted in four communities island wide. They are Tower Hill, St. Andrew; May Pen, Clarendon; Granville, St. James and Spanish Town, St. Catherine.