Our Courts can count on us to do the right thing – PM

In recent remarks to judges of the OECS Supreme Court who attended the 2015 Annual Judicial Conference, Prime Minister Harris commended the development of the Court in addressing the growing and varied nature of cases within the OECS. He said that OECS governments are supportive of the Court, and with a new political administration in the federation, Harris gave the Court the St. Kitts and Nevis commitment for continued development of the judicial system.

As part of that support, the prime minister committed to up-to-date payments to the Court, to strengthen legal aid, as a means of improving access to justice, as well as other support, even as the conference provided opportunity to examine criminal trial processes, practices and procedures.

Harris indicated the timeliness of the conference in looking at criminal matters and processes and revealed a proposal for “a criminal justice board to bring all stakeholders together as part of a comprehensive response to law and order, public safety and security in our country.” The prime minister said this in the context that crime and security are of current concern, and that a concerted effort must be made by all parties of relevance to the justice system to be sensitive to public concerns.

He stated, “Each entity needs to be mindful about how its efficiency and effectiveness bear on the work of the other.  The quality of policing for example, impacts the case mounted by our D.P.P. and his success in Court determines whether criminals pay for crime or go ‘scot-free’.  Equally the time taken to have Production Orders from DPP will determine the success rate by our police in investigating, arresting and bringing criminals to justice.”

Making reference to the Government’s support of the police in the federation, Harris said the Government will contribute necessary resources for the Court. “Our Courts can count on us to do the right thing.  First we accept and respect our Court’s independence. Second, as a resource provider to our Courts, we will not be stingy nor foolhardy. A well-functioning justice system is a sine qua non for a civilized society.”

The Judicial Education Institute organized the annual conference that provided sensitization training for Judges and Masters of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and other Judicial Officials on the Criminal Trial Process and Criminal Practice and Procedure.


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