Court adjourned, AC breaks down
Court was adjourned at the state-of-the-art Port Antonio Resident Magistrate's Court at Bryans Bay in Portland on Tuesday, after a second air-conditioning unit broke down, forcing a senior justice to abort all sessions due to the intense heat.
Courtroom Number Two's proceedings were disrupted as several attorneys, clerk of the court, the police, and other administrative staff complained bitterly about the humidity, which had them sweating profusely.
"I was sweating like a pig. It is an unbearable situation, which got worse by the minute. It is virtually impossible to continue in this manner, and I am unsure as to how or when normality will be restored. It was total confusion as court Number One, which houses the senior judge, has been without air conditioning for more than a month. Poor maintenance has contributed to this today," said attorney-at-law Richard Harris.
The broken-down air-conditioning unit in courtroom Number One has been inactive for approximately six weeks, and according to administrative members of staff who requested anonymity, the matter was reported to the Court Management Service, but according to them, it is not yet clear as to when the repairs will begin.
Gov't committed to ending discrimination against women
Minister without portfolio with responsibility for information, Sandrea Falconer, on Tuesday, reaffirmed Government's commitment to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
Falconer outlined some of the progress being made as she addressed the opening ceremony of a Government/NGO dialogue towards effective implementation of the tenets of the convention being held in Kingston.
In highlighting the Government's commitment to CEDAW and the implementation of recommendations of the CEDAW committee, Falconer said the Government will continue to drive the implementation of the outstanding recommendations, noting that: "Already, we have a fundamental policy shift in how the Government will treat the matter of sexual harassment."
According to Falconer, "previously, the Government had decided to implement a national policy, and then enact the requisite supporting legislation, but after consultations with the minister of justice, our approach will be to move towards promulgating legislation that will penalise sexual harassment and provide an avenue of redress for our women."