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  • Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has committed the Government to continuing the implementation of a wide-ranging programme of reform of the Justice System during 2016.
  • Prime Minister Simpson Miller said the required culture change also places absolute primacy on greater synergies between prosecution and defence counsel to achieve the timely disposal of cases.
  • She emphasized that justice is essential for the existence and maintenance of peace, while peace is required for prosperity.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has committed the Government to continuing the implementation of a wide-ranging programme of reform of the Justice System during 2016. This process, she has noted, requires a change of the culture and approach of key stakeholders, supported by significant public investment. Despite taking place during a period when Jamaica is continuing on a path of sustained fiscal discipline and economic reform, the Prime Minister says key changes in the justice system must be made to ensure the swift, efficient and effective delivery of Justice for the people of Jamaica.

Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony for the new President of the Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Dennis Morrison QC, at King’s House on Monday (January 4), Prime Minister Simpson Miller said the required culture change also places absolute primacy on greater synergies between prosecution and defence counsel to achieve the timely disposal of cases.

She emphasized that justice is essential for the existence and maintenance of peace, while peace is required for prosperity. “A cohesive society is the fundamental platform on which investments are attracted and sustainable economic growth is built.  A cohesive society requires that our people believe in their hearts that the system provides them with access to justice when they require it,” the Prime Minister said.

She added that the Jamaican people have been crying out for justice from the time of the arrival of our ancestors on slave ships hundreds of years ago, and that cry continues in various ways today.

“It echoes in almost every sphere of life whenever our people feel that they are being treated unfairly. It is therefore quite appropriate that justice is mentioned explicitly in the Jamaican national anthem, in the emphatic proclamation – Justice, Truth, be ours Forever,” the Prime Minister noted.

She pointed out that her Administration continues to pursue Jamaica’s national development goals on the premise that our justice system must be treated as a central area of development policy action. “That is why we are determined to invest in justice for our people, and build a justice system that is efficient, accessible to all, and of the highest quality. So while all other sectors are important, Justice must be at the heart and centre of the society. It stands tall as the essential D-N-A of all that Government seeks to achieve for our people.”

The Prime Minister acknowledged the challenges faced by those who administer justice in Jamaica including the complexities of the laws and bthe large volume of cases that come to the courts every day.

“With the awesome volume of their work, which forces the appellate judge to work late into the night and invariably on weekends, we cannot over-emphasize the gratitude and appreciation we have for our nation’s judges,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.

She expressed confidence that the Hon. Justice C. Dennis Morrison fully understands the issues and challenges. She said his numerous contributions to the improvement of the justice system provide ample and evidence that he is suitable for the job.

“Though he hails from the private bar, his career is characterized by countless instances of wider service. He has been the chairman of important public boards, and lectured and tutored generations of students of the law at the Normal Manley Law School. He also gave distinguished service as President of the Jamaican Bar Association,” the Prime Minister pointed out.

She added that Jamaica is proud of Justice Dennis Morrison, and is thankful to have a man of his mettle to lead the Court of Appeal, the country’s highest domestic Court.

“His intellectual acumen and numerous skills have long made him a leading candidate for the very high office which he formally assumes. Indeed, he was destined for this, and we all feel a sense of joy and satisfaction when destiny is fulfilled in such a positive way,” the Prime Minister noted.

She congratulated Justice Morrison on being appointed President of the Court of Appeal of Jamaica and extended her congratulations to his entire family for the support they provide him.