New courthouses for Mandeville, Spanish Town

Observer staff reporter

Thursday, November 22, 2018

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JUSTICE Minister Delroy Chuck has disclosed that Government will be building two new courthouses next year — one in Mandeville, Manchester and the other in Spanish Town, St Catherine.

In fact, he said the plan is to build four courthouses over the next three years.

“We intend to start the building of two courts in the next fiscal year... and thereafter we expect to do at least two others — one in Trelawny and another in St Ann,” the minister said during his address Tuesday at a National Public Education Symposium at the St Catherine Parish Court.

“So, over the next three years, we expect that at least four new court complexes will be started, at least, and some hopefully completed — that is the mission I have stated to my Cabinet ministers,” he added.

In the meantime, the justice minister also indicated that his ministry has completed a $42-million renovation project at the Spanish Town Court, and will shortly spend a further $80 million to do repairs and upgrade at the Clarendon Parish Court.

Chuck noted that he fully supports Chief Justice Bryan Sykes's plans and vision to transform Jamaica's justice system into one of first-world standard, and lauded the chief justice for demonstrating strong, inspiring, visionary, and transformative leadership.

“From the ministry's standpoint, I am determined to ensure not only the support I give him, but ensure that the Ministry of Justice steps up to the plate and ensure that the justice system is not only first-class, and first-rate, first-world, but are five-star facilities. It is not going to happen overnight, but bit by bit we are going to move forward,” he pledged.

He said, however, that while Government tries to improve the facilities, the court staff must also work on the service that is being offered to the public who deserve “majestic-style” service.

“Every single Jamaican, however rude, intolerant and abusive, must be treated with respect, decency, civility, and tolerance

“It is unfortunate that our citizens behave that way, but we must not follow them. When they come to court to seek assistance, it is because they need help; and in our court system we don't have to be rude and behave like they do. treat them with civility, treat them decently, treat them in a manner that you treat the chief justice and minister of justice,” Chuck said.

Coupled with the top-quality customer service, he said cases, especially simple matters, should be quickly settled by the court.

“What I would want is if 80 per cent of matters that come before the court, whether it is at parish court or Supreme Court, can be completed within a year; the other 20 per cent are complex trial matters that may take a little longer,” he said.

According to the minister, there is no reason why simple matters cannot be dealt with in an amicable manner, whether through restorative justice or mediation, which now accounts for 40 per cent of cases that are disposed of in the Supreme Court.

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