Sykes seeks to make J'can judiciary best in the region in three years
Jamaica's Chief Justice Bryan Sykes has revealed that he is aiming to make the country's judicial system, crippled for decades by chronic under-resourcing and a backlog of civil and criminal cases, the best in the Caribbean in three years.
Sykes indicated, also, that he is pushing to make the Jamaican judiciary "one of the best in the world" in six years.
"We are committed to these goals," Sykes said in a presentation that was delivered by Senior Puisne Judge Carol Lawrence Beswick, during the swearing-in of Appeal Court Judge Leighton Pusey and Master-in-Chambers Pamela Mason at King's House in St Andrew yesterday.
Sykes noted that as part of the effort to achieve these goals, the data and statistics collection capabilities of the judiciary have been significantly improved.
He said the information collected will be used to drive the various initiatives that are to be implemented to correct areas of weaknesses in the system.
Describing the conditions under which judges currently serve as "less than ideal", Sykes said as a matter of priority, the judiciary intends to seek increased resources for its operations.
"These additional resources are being sought within the context of our commitment to use our existing resources more efficiently," he explained.
The chief justice underscored, too, that judges will have a critical role to play if these goals are to be achieved.
"We must embrace the reforms being implemented for the improvement of the system," he said. "We must ensure that judgments are delivered in a timely manner and we must be astute in our deliberations and decision-making. We must be vigilant that court time is not wasted and ensure that cases are managed efficiently."
The chief justice acknowledged the many criticisms levelled at the judiciary and conceded that not all of them are unfounded. He, however, gave the assurance that he will give priority attention to areas where "we have fallen down".
"One such is the timeliness with which cases are handled, from filing to disposition, including the appeal process," he said.