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JFJ slams gov't for not giving justice ministry credible budgetary allocation

Published:Sunday | May 8, 2016 | 3:32 PM
JFJ chairman Horace Levy

Human rights and justice advocates, Jamaicans For Justice (JFJ), is taking issue with what it implies is a disparity between the government’s thrust to reduce crime and violence and the failure to increase the budgetary allocation in real terms to the Ministry of Justice this fiscal year.

Revealing its disappointment with the J$6.8 billion allocation to the Ministry of Justice, JFJ in a release issued today suggested that it was impossible to have a reduction in crime and violence without improving Jamaica’s justice system.

According to JFJ, “impunity is probably the principal driver of the current murder rate”.

The lobby group highlighted in its press release that "the logjam caused by too few judges, courts and court managers has meant that only five per cent, one in 20, of those charged with murder gets convicted, according to UWI Prof Anthony Clayton (former advisor to the Ministry of National Security)."

JFJ continued: “To allocate this year to Justice only J$6.8 billion, as compared to the J$59.2 billion to Security (Ministry of National Security), is to continue to conceive a security that excludes the very thing that will ensure it, which is justice.”

The organisation pointed out that crime is an enemy of economic growth, which has been listed as a major priority by the government.

Towards achieving this target, JFJ argued that “a well-resourced MOJ (Ministry of Justice), asserting state authority and competence to deliver justice, will give a solemn and decisive blow to the cycle of impunity. Only this will restore people’s trust in the justice system, the linchpin of true security”.

JFJ said it was, therefore, urging Prime Minister Andrew Holness to revise the allocation to the justice ministry in this year’s budget.