Fri | Jul 19, 2019

Montego Bay wants Supreme Court branch

Published:Monday | June 24, 2019 | 12:05 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer

Damia Dawes-Monthrope, a director of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is recommending that the existing $1-million cap on claims brought to the parish court be increased to $5 million to alleviate the problems litigants face when trying to access the Supreme Court based in Kingston.

“Matters over $1 million [go] to Kingston, so if we could even increase that [so] the parish court [has] jurisdiction to hear matters up to $5 million, that will help to alleviate the situation,” said Dawes-Monthrope, who is also batting for a branch of the Supreme Court to be established in western Jamaica.

Dawes-Monthrope, who was speaking at Wednesday night’s chamber meeting, made her call for the amendment while responding to concerns about the need to establish a branch of the Supreme Court in Montego Bay, which stakeholders have been lobbying for for more than 20 years.

In recent times, stakeholders in the Montego Bay business community and the Cornwall Bar Association have been lobbying Justice Minister Delroy Chuck and the Government to move quickly to establish a branch of the Supreme Court in Montego Bay, which would reduce the need for people in western Jamaica to journey to Kingston have cases heard.

In supporting the call by Dawes-Monthrope, attorney-at-law Chumu Paris said that while a Supreme Court registry has been established and has been operating in the National Housing Trust building located on Union Street in Montego Bay, the level of service being offered is inadequate.

“There is a western registry, but it only allows you to file documents, but we need more than that,” Paris said.

Paris stated that the Cornwall Bar Association has been lobbying for many years to have a branch of the Supreme Court in the western region without success. He said such a facility is extremely necessary as it would reduce the costs associated with litigants gaining access to the court.