KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) – Finance and Public Service Minister Audley Shaw, has expressed the Government’s heartfelt gratitude for the European Union’s (EU) continued relationship and ongoing support.
Noting that organisation’s inputs have been consistent, Shaw says the EU has “proactively” sought to channel its support to Jamaica’s development objectives, and that its provisions have been aligned with the country’s long-term National Development Plan, Vision 2030 Jamaica, and the Medium Term Socio-economic Policy Framework.
This, he notes, is evident in the current national programme being funded at a cost of approximately $18.66 billion (€135.5 million).
The minister was speaking at Thursday’s (December 8) $3.3 billion (€22 million) EU grant funding support agreement signing for Jamaica’s justice reform programme at the Ministry’s National Heroes Circle offices, in Kingston.
Shaw said the EU-funded national programme comprises 13 projects incorporating diverse portfolios.
These include agriculture, security and justice, public financial management, health, and poverty reduction.
Shaw noted the Government’s broader socioeconomic and development priorities, the success of which will “correlate with how well we do at reforming the justice sector.”
He said the EU’s funding support for justice reform “will make a substantial difference to the pace and success of what this Government sees as a critical plank of the programme to reshape the economy.”
Shaw said based on the reform agenda outlined by Justice Minister Delroy Chuck, and the priority areas that will be impacted by the EU’s support, “I am optimistic (that) ordinary people everywhere in Jamaica will now have justice available to them.”
In his remarks, Chuck noted that the funding will target the development of a balanced, cohesive and secure justice sector.
The Minister said the State’s ability to create a safe and secure environment for all citizens is an “inescapable” and fundamental obligation of any government.
“The extent to which we can do this depends, to a large extent, on the effectiveness of the justice system,” Chuck added.
For her part, Head of the EU Delegation in Jamaica, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, highlighted measures implemented by successive administrations to improve access to justice in Jamaica.
These, she noted, have included: modernisation, infrastructural improvements, institutional and administrative capacity strengthening, removing and repealing outdated legislation, and reducing court case backlogs.
The EU Delegation Head emphasised that access to justice is essential for democracies to flourish, adding that the creation of a fair and just society entails the facilitation and institutionalisation of freedom and the rule of law, and access to empowerment opportunities and social inclusion.