Restorative justice centres for west Kingston
Two restorative justice centres are to be established in West Kingston before year end to provide counselling to the more than 2,500 children who were affected by the events of May 2010.
Justice Minister Delroy Chuck, who made the announcement yesterday, said the Government would set up the centres in Tivoli Gardens and Denham Town.
In a statement to the House of Representatives, Chuck said that teachers and students from schools in west Kingston participated in training sessions on restorative justice at the Ministry of Justice in September.
He said the ministry placed emphasis on west Kingston because of a critical recommendation made by the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry into the May 2010 operations by the security forces to serve an extradition warrant on former Tivoli don Christopher 'Dudus' Coke. The three-panel commissioners recommended that there should be continuous counselling for the more than 2,500 children who were affected by the violence, which left 73 civilians and a soldier dead.
Chuck noted that some counselling took place shortly after the incursion but said the two centres would be established to ensure maximum effect and recovery.
At the same time, the justice minister also announced that students would be trained in the principles of restorative justice. He said the training exercise would be rolled out in schools next year.
According to Chuck, students will be exposed to restorative practices to deal with anger management, respect for each other, and how to interact and resolve conflicts without resorting to violence.
He argued that restorative justice has made a "remarkable difference in societies such as South Africa with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in Rwanda, and in Colombia to restore societies after periods of violence, and we expect that it will make a difference in Jamaica".
Chuck said that mediation and restorative justice are alternative forms of dispute resolution, noting that these approaches reduced the number of cases that come before the courts.