WITH JAMAICA in the throes of celebrating its 50th anniversary of Independence, Lloyd B Smith, deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, has made a strident call for a branch of the Supreme Court to be established in Western Jamaica.
Smith made the call while addressing a Jamaica 50 symposium and opening of exhibition hosted by the St James Jamaica 50 Planning Committee at the Montego Bay Civic Centre on Monday.
"What may not be well known is that any civil matter that exceeds $250,000 has to be dealt with in the Supreme Court. The sad truth is that you have to journey all the way to Kingston to get your day in court. Think of somebody in Westmoreland having to go all the way to Kingston, and maybe spend five to 10 minutes in court, as you know a lot of cases are put off."
Smith said with Jamaica now celebrating its Golden jubilee, there ought to be greater levels of access to judicial and other services without having to travel to Kingston.
"The time has come and we can't be talking about 50th anniversary of Independence and not address such vital matters. I really hope that this new administration, of which I am a part, will seriously look at establishing a branch of the Supreme Court in Western Jamaica."
He said, if the Government cannot afford to establish a branch of the Supreme Court, then it could consider increasing or extending the jurisdiction of the Resident Magistrate's Court to deal with civil matters exceeding $250,000.