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EU pledges support for justice system

Published:Wednesday | July 2, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Jesus Orus Baguena

Mark Titus, Gleaner Reporter

AFTER PUMPING more than $21.3 billion worth of support in the local sugar transformation programme, the European Union (EU) has said plans are now well advanced for improvement work to begin in the local justice sector starting next year.

"We are doing a lot of work in the next few years in the justice sector because we have agreed with the Government that this has to be one of the priorities, and we will be working in that area," said Jesus Orus Baguena, Charge de' Affairs of the European Union to Jamaica last Thursday.

"There are different aspects of [the justice sector], [but] we are identifying the programmes [and] we are doing some actions now, but infrastructure, the courthouses especially in the country [rural parishes], is not in good shape, it is one of the things we want to help with," he added.

"To this end, we will also provide technical assistance, and we will support some institutions as well."

45 houses

The EU head was speaking with The Gleaner following the handover of 45 housing solutions to sugar workers under the Barracks relocation programme in the Westmoreland sugar belt of Barham, Shrewsbury and Masemure with a combined value of $141.7 million.

"I was very happy to see the houses," Orus Baguena added. "When I came to break the ground in 2012, now the results are here, that's why we are here working hand-in-hand with the Government."

In 2003, the EU agreed to use the Budget Support modality to deliver assistance to the implementation of the Government of Jamaica's Sugar Adaptation Strategy. One component is the Barracks relocation project which will see a total of 876 sugar workers living in estate barracks relocated to 400 housing solutions at a cost of J$2.4 billion.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, in giving the keynote address, lauded the EU for its support, and reported a total investment value of €10.6 million (J$1.6 billion) in sugar areas between 2007 and 2014.