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  • Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding on Tuesday (February 17) officially opened the Montego Bay Restorative Justice Centre, the first of its kind to be established in western Jamaica.
  • The Centre will be available to all communities in the Montego Bay area, and forms part of government’s emphasis of integrating and implementing restorative justice practices in selected communities throughout Jamaica.
  • The opening of the centre is also part of activities to highlight Restorative Justice in the month of February which is being celebrated under the theme ‘Restorative Justice for Community Empowerment’.

Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding on Tuesday (February 17) officially opened the Montego Bay Restorative Justice Centre, the first of its kind to be established in western Jamaica.

The Centre will be available to all communities in the Montego Bay area, and forms part of government’s emphasis of integrating and implementing restorative justice practices in selected communities throughout Jamaica.

The opening of the centre is also part of activities to highlight Restorative Justice in the month of February which is being celebrated under the theme ‘Restorative Justice for Community Empowerment’.

In his remarks at the opening ceremony held at 49 Union Street, Mr. Golding informed that for February, the Ministry is “expected to raise awareness and build support for the restorative justice programme as well as to invite national participation and collaboration with the government in implementing this effective model of justice”.

“The Restorative Justice Programme is really a flagship programme for the Ministry. (It) really embodies the heart of justice, getting to the heart of a dispute or an incident that has impaired a relationship, damaged a community and through an authentic process of communication, managed by trained professionals, seek to arrive at a consensus on how to repair that wrong and heal those wounds,” Senator Golding noted.

The Justice Minister reiterated that this was particularly relevant to Jamaica where citizens tend to quickly, resort to violence, thereby increasing the crime statistics.

In addition, Senator Golding mentioned that the Ministry of Justice is pursuing legislation that will facilitate the formal recognition of Restorative Justice in the criminal justice system.

“We are now going to be moving forward with the legislation that will allow the police and the courts … to refer cases to the Restorative Justice Programme to be dealt with … thereby coming out of the formal (overburdened) justice system altogether,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Senator Golding is calling on citizens across the country to give their full support by getting involved with the programme to ensure that those in Jamaica who from time to time cry out ‘We want justice’ will see the manifestation of justice from the grass root levels.

For his part, Custos of St. James, Hon. Ewen Corrodus, said that Restorative Justice was a powerful remedy for the ‘cancer’ of crime which has been eating away the life of the society.

“The Montego Bay Restorative Justice Centre will be the ‘clinic’ where the healing medicine will be administered, to address the disease of crime in this area. It will be where the citizens can learn to practice preventative measures to avoid this dreaded disease,” Mr. Corrodus pointed out.

 

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