Over $1.3b spent settling judgement debts — Chuck

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Justice Minister Delroy Chuck has called on public servants to act with greater care as he today disclosed that for the first time, all judgement debts due at the end of the fiscal year 2017/2018 have been settled.

Chuck, who was giving his contribution to the Sectoral Debate, said that the settlement was made possible through the Finance Ministry's provision of $1,309,790,000.

“We settled 303 matters. All matters submitted from the Attorney General's Chambers were paid. We owe nothing!” said Chuck, further noting that up to last Friday, 56 matters totalling just over $78 million were also paid up.

“This is a signal achievement we hope to sustain,” Chuck added.

However, despite this feat, the justice minister argued that while the Government satisfies its indebtedness for the negligence and misconduct of public servants, the ministry did not incur the debts, but has to satisfy them from its budgetary allocation.

With this, he urged police, medical personnel and other public servants to act with due care and precaution in exercising their duties as the money allocated could be used in other critical areas.

“In one instance, a police officer negligently seized an aeroplane in 1995 and as a result, we had to pay close to US$2 million in judgement debt in the last fiscal year,” cited Chuck.

“Imagine Mr Speaker, just how many more courts, schools, hospitals, roads, etc that could be fixed with the $500 million to over $1 billion that we pay out annually for misconduct and unprofessional behaviour by our public servants,” expressed Chuck, reiterating the call for them to do better.

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