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Lucea family's first session September 1

Published:Friday | August 19, 2011 | 12:00 AM
From left: Former Minister of Justice Dorothy Lightbourne; Donovan Hamilton (behind Lightbourne); Custos Rotulorum of Hanover David Stair; Mayor of Lucea Lloyd Hill, head of the European Delegation Marco Mazzocchi Alemanni; Chief Justice Zaila McCalla and Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck cut the ribbon to open the Lucea Family Courthouse in Hanover yesterday. - photo by Sheena Gayle

Sheena Gayle, Gleaner Writer

Western Bureau:

The dream of a Lucea Family Courthouse has finally been realised with the completion of the $92-million structure funded by the European Union in partnership with the Government.

With that, the arbiters of justice have wasted no time in utilising the facility which is slated to host its first family-court session come September 1.

According to Ambassador Marco Mazzocchi Alemanni, head of the European Union delegation in Jamaica, the island has come a far way in the enforcement of rights of children and for this to continue, "children need legal protection too".

He said: "We must be able to protect them and to enable them to grow up in violence-free and crime-free communities while having access to decent education and health facilities."

Chief Justice Zaila McCalla agreed with his statements, adding that the construction was timely as more rights are being focused on the nation's children.

"In our effort to honour our international treaty obligations and conventions regarding the rights of children in the court system, we have the responsibility to ensure these rights are safeguarded," she charged.

The Lucea Family Courthouse had its groundbreaking in February 2010 and it forms part of the Government's Poverty Reduction Programme being undertaken with the EU.

The courthouse contains two judge's chambers, two attorney's interviewing rooms, three counselling rooms, an office for the clerk of court and other administrative offices, children's waiting area, separate holding areas for male and female adults, and a separate holding area for young offenders.