Sykes renews call for allocations to digitise court system
Chief Justice Bryan Sykes (foreground, centre); Custos of Manchester Garfield Green (fourth right) and his wife Alecia Green (third right) and president of the Northern Caribbean University Dr Lincoln Edwards (second right) pose for a photo with 18 newly commissioned justices of the peace at Church Teachers' College in Mandeville on Thursday.

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Chief Justice Bryan Sykes has reiterated his call for allocations to be made for the greater digitisation of courts even as he says it reduces the likelihood of corruption.

"Oftentimes for corruption to take place, it requires interface between service provider and the beneficiary of the service, but if you have a situation in which you are working largely in a digital environment. The interaction is reduced, so you have less opportunities to cultivate and develop those relationships that may lead to other things and that is how now you reduce corruption," he said.

Justice Sykes, in addressing a commissioning ceremony organised by Custos of Manchester Garfield Green for 18 justices of the peace (JPs), said there are two levels of corruption.

"You have the hardcore persons… If you tell them to come in through the front door freely, they are trying to climb over the wall. If you take this programme [of the event] and you say here it is for free, they will try to forge it, so for people like that you really can't help those people," said the chief justice.

Chief Justice Bryan Sykes addressing a commissioning ceremony for 18 justices of the peace at Church Teachers' College in Mandeville on Thursday.Photos: Kasey Williams

"You have the other corruption now that's what I called efficiency based and whenever you have undue delays arising from inefficiency people opt to do what is necessary to get the service, because oftentimes what they are paying for is expedited service. They are not paying for any alteration of documents or anything like that," he added.

He pointed out that his goal is to make the court system efficient for all.

"What inefficiency does it begin to tempt honest citizens to think of inappropriate ways of getting the services that they need and to get the service expedited…One of my goals is to make the courts become efficient, so you don't have to know anybody [at the courts]," said the chief justice.

"When we digitise and become efficient then our governance will improve," he added.

Justice Sykes urged JPs to lobby Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck to develop an application to assist in their functions.

"Because when you go to a suspect and you are now examining, you notice that they don't give you anything to record your findings and the question is why not? It can't be too difficult to develop a mobile application that when you get into the police station you open it up [input information] and then it is stored and transmitted to a database somewhere, but there is no reason why that can't be done," said the chief justice.

He said the courts continue to reduce its backlog of cases and pointed out that the Supreme Court had a clearance rate of 78 per cent in 2022 up from 21 per cent in 2021.

"We are on our way to becoming one of the best in the world, but we still have a far way to go and how are we going to go now to become one of the best in the world and sustain it. This is now where the whole question of digitisation and digitalisation will play a very significant role," he said.

The chief justice is calling for the Ministry of Justice to focus on digitising the service of the courts.

"When you see the Minister of Justice [Delroy Chuck] you need to impress upon him the need not just to support the digitisation in words and thoughts and prayers, money does help as well, it has to be a sustained investment in the introduction development and the deployment of the appropriate technology within our courts and that is how we are going to be moving forward to becoming a First World country in terms of the operations of our legal system," said Justice Sykes.

BY KASEY WILLIAMS Observer staff reporter

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at


  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Which long-term investment option is more attractive to you at the moment?