The laptops donated by the Canadian-funded Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening (JURIST) Project to the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) are being used to improve the court’s efficiency in providing access to and delivery of justice in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
On June 2, 2020 the JURIST Project donated ten (10) laptops to the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) to support their work, as they continue to devise ways and means of dispensing justice, despite the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic facing the region and the worldwide community.
Mr. Mark Ernest, Information Technology Manager, ECSC said: “With the advent of COVID-19, we needed to increase our digital and electronic capabilities to enable continued productivity of court staff working remotely.”
The laptops were entrusted to staff member in several departments from the court’s headquarters in St. Lucia and other OECS Member States who are working remotely. These included judicial officers and judicial assistants.
Her Ladyship, the Honourable Dame Janice M. Pereira, DBE, LL.D, Chief Justice of the ECSC, received the laptops at the court’s headquarters in Castries, St. Lucia, during a short handing over ceremony on Tuesday June 2, 2020. Mr. Ernest handed over the laptops to the Honourable Chief Justice as representatives of the Government of Canada and the JURIST Project could not attend, due to the pandemic.
Dame Janice said that the donation from the Project was very timely and significant. “It comes at a time when the ECSC is undergoing rapid transformation in retooling and reengineering a number of its processes in an effort to keep the wheels of justice turning. The laptops, will, without doubt, go a long way toward improving our efficiency in providing access to and the delivery of justice to the citizens and residents of this region. With the advent of COVID-19, we needed to increase our digital and electronic capabilities to enable continued productivity of court staff working remotely.”
The laptops, along with other technology that the court has acquired, including the Zoom Web Conferencing Service, Microsoft Teams and Microsoft SharePoint, provide effective tools for the operation of the court in a remote environment. The conduct of remote hearings across the court’s nine Member States and Territories has become, by necessity, even more commonplace and will shape the way the court serves the people of the region going forward.
“The past two months have demonstrated that, armed with modern tools and technology, the court can continue to render service in an efficient manner even if physical presence is rendered difficult or impossible,” added the Honourable Chief Justice.
She also took the opportunity to personally thank Mrs. Gloria Richards-Johnson, Director, JURIST Project and other staff members for their continued and unwavering support. Dame Janice noted that: “The donation of laptops strengthens our relationship which is centred on seeing timely justice and increased access to justice through the modernisation of the court system.”
She assured that the laptops have been put to good and immediate use as the ECSC continues to improve and implement its business continuity and resiliency measures. “Every new challenge presents new opportunities once we are prepared to find them. The court remains focused in its drive to search for innovative and creative ways to overcome the challenges posed by this pandemic to the administration of justice, and looks forward to the continued goodwill of and collaboration with all our stakeholders,” she stated.
Mrs. Richards-Johnson said the Project was pleased to support the ECSC and other judiciaries in the region to strengthen their capacities in improving court efficiency and effectiveness during this unprecedented time. “The JURIST Project is responding swiftly and fully to the pandemic and uncertainties in the environment. We recognize the need for a pivot in our approach to respond to the impact of COVID-19, which will be felt beyond Project completion,” she emphasized.