The Honourable Delroy Chuck, Minister of Justice in Jamaica has praised the country’s judges for their high levels of integrity and professionalism in the execution of their duties.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening (JURIST) Project’s first collaborative workshop with the judiciary of Jamaica, Minister Chuck said while he has often levelled criticism against the justice system, one thing he can be assured of is that “we don’t have corrupt judges. We have judges of the highest honour, who live on low salaries and still maintain their integrity. And unlike instances that you may hear of in other regions, we can safely say here in Jamaica that we are proud of the work that our judges are doing for justice in this country.”
The collaborative workshop was held on May 12, 2016 at the offices of the High Commission of Canada in Jamaica and was the first in a series geared towards building awareness, momentum and consensus for the Project’s Third Year Work Plan. Jamaica was the first country to host this workshop and will be followed by Barbados, Belize, Guyana and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) among other countries.
The Minister added that one of his concerns though, was the delay in the delivery of justice. “It is my hope that the Project can assist us in delivering justice on a timely basis. We need more initiatives geared towards that objective, whether it be more training, better systems and will power, we just need to deliver judgements more efficiently,” he noted.
The Honourable Mme. Justice Zaila McCalla, Chief Justice of Jamaica took the opportunity to highlight some of the projects currently underway in justice sector. She said that there were events and interventions in their justice system too numerous to chronicle. “We are privileged to have this regional JURIST Project. It is a wonderful Project and it gives us an opportunity to emulate best practices from other jurisdictions,” she stated.
The Chief Justice said that as Jamaica seeks to improve its justice system, it continues to work with international partners such as Canada and the European Union (EU). “A lot has been accomplished and I am pleased to see such a wide cross section of stakeholders attending the workshop which will assist in informing the JURIST Project of some of the initiatives that could be pursued moving forward.”
His Excellency Sylvain Fabi, High Commissioner of Canada reiterated the Canadian Government’s development commitment to the Caribbean justice sector. He said it was his hope that Jamaica and by extension the Caribbean continues to benefit immensely from its association with Canada.
The collaborative workshops are part of the JURIST Project’s participatory planning process and will bring together jurisdictional stakeholders at the national level, such as various levels of the judiciary, the Bar, court administration, mediation service providers, non-governmental and civil society organizations as well as other stakeholders from across the region where appropriate, to share knowledge, experiences and priorities linked to judicial reform.
The objective of these workshops is to develop the next work plan in a participatory manner, with a view to ensuring transparency and predictability in the implementation and timing of the Project’s proposed activities.