Justice Minister, Delroy Chuck, is encouraging wide-ranging stakeholder support for the first-ever strategic business plan for the judicial arm of Government.
He has also pledged the administration’s support through the provision of the requisite resources to ensure the achievement of the stipulated goals and targets.
The minister was speaking at the plan’s recent launch, held at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew.
Titled ‘Benchmarking the Future: Courting Success’, the plan, which will cover the period 2019 to 2023, is a roadmap towards achieving the vision of positioning Jamaica’s judicial system as the best in the Caribbean within three years, and among the best globally in six.
It represents the fulfilment of work advanced under the leadership of Chief Justice Bryan Sykes, which was built on groundwork laid by several key stakeholders, including his predecessor, Justice Zaila McCalla.
Chuck, who represented Prime Minister Andrew Holness, described the plan as a “noble effort” and congratulated Justice Sykes and the team piloting it to fruition.
“I would like to ask all the stakeholders in the justice system to buy into this plan… this strategic vision of where the justice system can be within the next six years. I also urge all Jamaicans to buy into this plan and all the targets that have been set,” the minister said.
Minister Chuck also assured that the executive will do everything in its power to provide the resources to ensure that the various targets are met.
The justice minister emphasised, however, that for the targets to be achieved, a lot will depend on the stakeholders in the system, and the leadership and management within the courts and the justice system itself.
“The real purpose of this Plan is to ensure that the people of Jamaica have trust and confidence in the justice system and, most importantly, for results to be achieved… so that persons can feel that when they access justice, it can be delivered in a timely manner,” Chuck said.
Governor-General Patrick Allen described the plan’s development as “a historic, important and exciting event in the life of the judiciary”.
In his message, read by Custos for Kingston Steadman Fuller, the Governor-General noted the administrative leadership demonstrated by the Chief Justice, arguing that the plan “reflects the vision which [Justice Sykes] has for our nation”.
Additionally, he said it is indicative of his focus on the broader engagement of all parties “directly related to the efficient and timely delivery of justice to the people of Jamaica”.
Court of Appeal President, Justice Dennis Morrison, in also welcoming the plan, described its formulation for an organisation like the judiciary as a “complex and vastly more ambitious [undertaking]” to what obtains for commercial operations.
He said developing a strategic plan for the judiciary involves working with a market that “is not always predictable” in terms of size and composition and which, consequent on it not enjoying the “luxury of choice” of provider, “is ever more demanding”.
Nonetheless, Morrison said the plan “is to be welcomed”, adding that “for us, in the Court of Appeal, it is welcomed”.
Additionally, he said the Chief Justice is to be applauded “for the energy and single-mindedness with which he has promoted it”.
In his remarks, Sykes said the plan represents the culmination of “very significant collaboration” that also involved the Justice Ministry; the Cabinet Office, which provided technical assistance; the Court Administration Division (formerly Court Management Services); and judges, particularly those assigned to the parish courts.
He noted that the plan is designed to give focus, direction, meaning and purpose to all activities in the courts.
“The plan is there to ensure the optimum use of resources – human, material and financial,” he said.
In this regard, Sykes said the document provides the platform upon which the judiciary intends its performance to be assessed, adding that its unveiling “marks a new beginning in the way that our courts operate and are managed”.
Among the plan’s strategic objectives are significant reduction in court case backlogs and the wait time for court records; automation of some of the judicial processes to ensure ease of access and efficiency for all users of the courts; and eliminating delays and multiple adjournments, by 2023.
The document, which aims to promote good governance and improved service delivery, while protecting the rights of every person utilising the courts, will be available to members of the public.