Tue | Aug 14, 2018

Justice ministry to pay huge judgment debts

Published:Monday | October 23, 2017 | 12:00 AM

The courts have made awards against the Government amounting to more than $900 million this year alone.

Carol Palmer, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice, said that judgment debts have amounted to $916 million, including interest, over the period April to September 30 this year.

This sum does not include judgment debts of $400 million as at April 2017, which was paid down by the justice ministry from a similar allocation in the Budget this financial year.

In a presentation to Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) last week, Palmer revealed that a recent judgment that had been handed down, arising from a claim on the Government's health sector, amounted to $250 million.

Palmer noted that the award was made 22 years after an incident in the health sector in 1995.

PAAC Member Fitz Jackson raised concern about the extended period that the State took to settle payments.

"On the surface of it, what concerns me is that where the State is wrong, the offended party has to wait this long for redress. When the State is the one responsible for this distress, it doesn't augur well for us as a country," Jackson said.