Gov't settles judgment debts - Chuck urges professional conduct from officials
Justice Minister Delroy Chuck has urged some public servants to desist from carrying out their duties in an unprofessional manner, citing the action of a police officer in 1995 who "negligently seized an aeroplane" and racked up judgment debts to the Government amounting to US$2 million. The sum was paid out in the last fiscal year.
Chuck issued the note of caution yesterday, even as he announced that the Government had cleared its backlog of judgment debts.
"While this Government satisfies its indebtedness for the negligence and misconduct of public servants, I need to urge our police, medical personnel and other public servants to act with due care and precaution in exercise of their duties," he said.
The justice minister said that the Government had settled all judgment debts at the end of the last financial year. He reported that his ministry had settled 303 matters, paying out more than $1.3 billion.
"All matters submitted from the Attorney General's Chambers were paid. We owe nothing!" Chuck declared during his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in Parliament.
Public servants must do better
He noted that, up to May 18, the Government had paid out judgment debts covering 56 matters, totalling a little more than $78 million.
"Imagine, Mr Speaker, just how many more courts, schools, hospitals and roads that could be fixed with the $500 million to more than $1 billion that we pay out annually for misconduct and unprofessional behaviour of some public servants. They must do better!" Chuck admonished.
The justice minister told his parliamentary colleagues that the Government had also disbursed compensation to 418 persons affected by the May 2010 incursion by the security forces into west Kingston.
The ministry disbursed $55.8 million to victims directly and transferred $134.6 million to the Administrator General's Department to compensate the estates of deceased persons.