KINGSTON, Jamaica, March 26, 2019 (CMC) – The United Kingdom is providing Jamaica with a J$51-million grant to fund the unification of prosecutorial services and strengthen the overall operations of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
The Department for International Development (DFID) grant will provide for a review of the governance of the Clerks of Courts, with a view to placing the officers under the supervision of the DPP’s office.
The objective is to achieve harmonisation of prosecutorial services, by making the DPP responsible for all prosecutors in the court system. It will also facilitate greater oversight for prosecution in the Parish Courts, and the elimination of perceived conflicts of interest.
Justice Minister, Delroy Chuck, who signed the agreement with the head of the DFID office in Jamaica, David Osborne, said the support will assist in ensuring that cases are tried, in a timely manner, and that there is no waste of judicial time.
“The idea now, of the Clerks of Courts being taken out of administrative duties and just concentrating on prosecutorial work, means that not only will cases be better organised, better prosecuted, but better outcomes will result.
“I think it is important that we go this route, because, at the moment, the Clerks of Courts are actually under the supervision of the judges and the Chief Justice,” Chuck said, noting that there are over 60 Clerks of Courts in the island.
Osborne said the support will unlock the full potential of the country’s prosecutorial capacity, and boost the DPP capability to prosecute serious, organised crimes, and complex criminal cases.
“The job of my department is to help Jamaica to deal with its most pressing development challenges, and we have been a consistent and long-term partner for Jamaica, for a number of years, providing around £15 million of grant funding to help tackle climate change, natural disasters, boost economic growth and deal with security and governance constraints,” he noted.
British High Commissioner, Asif Ahmad, said the initiative is a good investment in the justice system and will assist in the transformation of the sector, while DPP, Paula Llewellyn, said the idea of unification has always been supported by her office.
She noted that the technical support will better enable the office to carry out its functions.
“This is the era of transparency and accountability, and those of us, in the public service, must understand that this must be a part of our DNA. It is important to ensure that all entities, which perform public functions, are organised and streamlined, in a manner, which ensures optimal efficiency,” she said.
The funds for the unification of the prosecutorial services are part of the UK’s Caribbean Anti-Corruption Programme (CACP), which is mandated to strengthen the anti-corruption framework of Jamaica and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States countries, by building the capacity of select institutions to improve accountability and transparency.