Funding for Magistrates Court

By Staff Reporter, MyVue News.com

Basseterre, 12th August, 2020, (MyVue News.com)- St. Kitts & Nevis is among other countries of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, (OECS), that has been identified to receive a grant from the United Kingdom, to facilitate online operations of its court system.

This falls in line with earlier statements by the Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Dame Janice Pereira, encouraging the continuation of court proceedings, using remote methods and modern technology, given the constraints and health risks associated with COVID-19.

St. Kitts & Nevis and five other territories in the OECS are being provided with EC$200,000 from the UK’s Caribbean Security and Stability Fund (CSSF), to facilitate remote operations of the Magistrates Courts during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a recent statement, announcing the funding, it was reported that the US/UK Criminal Justice Adviser to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Sirah Abraham, approached the UK’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) for assistance to support remote working in regional Magistrates Courts.

The assistance was identified as a need when the COVID-19 pandemic required the implementation of measures for social distancing, thereby suspending the the usual physical proceedings.

Countries benefiting also include Grenada, Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda, St.Vincent & The Grenadines and St. Lucia.

Abraham said, “This support will reduce the risk of spreading the virus, prevent courts from being shut down as a result of spread and limit any delays in the criminal justice process by ensuring that these essential services are still provided to the public.”

Dame Janice expressed her gratitude for the funding and the continued support of the Criminal Justice Reform Project. She said: “I thank you so much for your continued assistance in coming to our aid and more particularly, in these times when we must retool to ensure that the justice system continues to deliver justice fairly and effectively, even if the physical doors and spaces are closed.”

In response, and in acceptance of the funding, Chief Justice Pereira said, comes at a time “…when we must retool to ensure that the justice system continues to deliver justice fairly and effectively, even if the physical doors and spaces are closed.”

The funds are to be used to acquire much needed equipment, such as scanners, printers, laptops, zoom subscriptions and mobile devices, thereby enhancing the technical delivery of some of the essential services provided by the courts.

Main photo: Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Dame Janice Pereira

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