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LETTER OF THE DAY: CJ - fix the foundation first

Published:Saturday | January 24, 2015 | 1:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:I believe that sometime in the future, Jamaica will need its own final court to replace the Privy Council, which has served us well and long. There has been much debate as to whether Jamaica should go with the Caribbean or go it alone.

Before a final decision is taken, however, I don't believe the public has been educated enough as to the merits or demerits of each alternative. Maybe some TV debates are needed. The newspapers could assist in setting out the various pros and cons of each court, Jamaican or Caribbean. Whichever way we take it, neither of the solutions will be cheap.

Fix the foundation first

Maybe we are putting the cart before the horse. The lower courts, such as the RM courts, are choked with a backlog of cases, many going on for years. If we do not fix the system from that level, justice is going to be denied for most people. The condition of most of the court buildings is hopelessly inadequate for serving today's needs. Some of these ancient structures are crumbling because of age and inadequate maintenance. New facilities were promised to Mandeville, for example, but nothing seems to be happening.

There are court documents that cannot be printed because copiers are either out of ink or broken down. Judges are still writing notes in long hand, and other physical facilities in the buildings are stone-age vintage.

The police have their own woes, with station buildings falling apart, inadequate training, low levels of criminal apprehension, and even lower levels of conviction, inadequate transport, low morale and lack of professionalism among many members of the force as some of the problems.

A decision needs to be taken, but we should not rush into a system that has long-term consequences before all the possible outcomes are properly explored.

TREVOR SAMUELS

tasamuels@cwjamaica .com