Is justice being served?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014    

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Dear Editor,

"I promise to stand up for justice, brotherhood and peace..." This statement forms a critical part of my oath to country. Justice, I believe, is a human right. It is like the Caribbean sea in which we float, and, like the sea, it is seemingly calm at times, but at others, like the onset of a hurricane, it is tumultuous and it is uncertain. Like the sea, the permutations of possibilities are endless.

There are some who suggest that justice and the justice system should be overseen by "an oligarchy of gods", and as such should not gyrate itself amongst the hoi polloi. It is my view that justice and the justice system deserves nothing less than the reverence that is bestowed upon our gods.

However, those who participate in it are servants of the system. In large part this system is paid for by us — the people of Jamaica — who understand that it is the guardian of our society, our humanity. It is the rules of this system that help us to navigate it. They take us through various interpretations and outcomes. The system, by its design, has created its own intellectual discretion. It does not abide the strict confines of its borders. For, if it were to do so, it would find itself confined and confused and would inevitably destroy the very reason for which it was created.

Our justice system does not operate in a vacuum. It is dependent on a number of factors which need for attention; resources, financing, etc. The resources on which we rely are largely inherited. Many of the institutions were built in the 19th and 20th centuries. Many of the legislations were also enacted then. What has allowed it to last is that it is not insusceptible to change. For the only thing constant in life is change.

We have increased the supply of entrants to the system. The number of cases being served by the system has increased without a consummate increase in the number of judges or court houses or staff. If we continue along this path what will be the end of it?

Justice is a human right and so the system which protects it, protects humanity. Everyone, therefore, has a duty to protect its preserve. It must work.

Lisamae Gordon





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