Justice poor cousin of the State
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The parishes of St Catherine, St Andrew, and Kingston are home to at least one-third of the population of Jamaica.
They are served by three main courthouses: the parish courts located at Spanish Town, St Catherine, Sutton Street in Kingston, and Half-Way Tree in St Andrew.
Does the public know that the Sutton Street and Spanish Town courts have had no telephone service for years?
The absence of this basic communication tool in modern Jamaica is just the tip of the iceberg of a justice system falling apart, with judges in these courts writing the evidence down in long hand, with new dates for court hearings spanning in excess of six months at times, with a demoralised staff interfacing with litigants who cannot make a call to check on their matters, resulting in the non-delivery of justice.
The delay of justice, resulting in its denial to thousands, is the order of the day. When the doors of justice are locked or difficult to open, can we blame those who seek justice to settle their differences extrajudicially? Consider the poor pensioner who is seeking to remove a tenant who owes rent, his livelihood. In the current state of affairs in the parish court, a year could lapse between serving a notice to quit and the grant of judgment!
While the infrastructure in many government offices is pretty modern and equipped with state-of-the-art technology, the court, where justice is to be delivered, remains the poor cousin of the State.