Tue | Sep 26, 2017

Justice budget could double to speed up cases and fight crime

Published:Saturday | January 14, 2017 | 1:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Delroy Chuck

Declaring that there was urgent need to fight crime on all fronts, Justice Minister Delroy Chuck says that the Government will, in the 2017-2018 fiscal year, significantly boost the budget of the justice sector.

In the current financial year, nearly $6 billion was allocated to the justice ministry, but in the upcoming fiscal year, Chuck says that this amount could double as there are increased efforts to dispose of cases more expeditiously.

"One of the antidotes to crime has to be a speedy, efficient, and impactful justice system where when a man commits a crime and he is caught, he knows that he is going to be put away in quick time," Chuck argued at a Gleaner Editors' Forum at the company's offices on North Street, central Kingston, yesterday.

 

FOUR-YEAR GRANT

 

Chuck divulged that the ministry was to benefit from a four-year grant totalling $22 billion from the European Development Fund.

The first tranche of about €4 million (approximately J$5.4 billion) will be available by May this year if the Government satisfies certain preconditions, including expansion of the Court of Appeal, establishing an additional Restorative Justice Centre, and training justices of the peace.

As part of measures to speed up the delivery of justice, Chuck said that the number of courts trying cases in the Supreme Court would be doubled from six to 12 this year.

He said that the ministry has already crafted its budget to include increased numbers of prosecutors and additional court personnel to manage the 12 courts.

In another six months, three Court of Appeal judges are to be appointed to boost the current seven.