Canada gives millions to CARICOM justice sector reform project
BRIDGETOWN - The Canadian government is providing CAN$19.2 million to help reform the justice sector in Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries.
Assistance in drafting legislation to further regional integration and economic growth, more legislative protection of vulnerable groups against discrimination, training of mediators to assist parties in solving disputes to avoid long and expensive court proceedings, and a programme for sensitizing ordinary people about their rights under the law are among the benefits promised under the Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean (IMPACT Justice) project being funded under an agreement with the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI).
The five-year regional justice sector reform project is designed to address deficiencies in the justice sector in CARICOM, outside of those that are directly related to the judiciary and the courts.
Regional Project Director Professor Velma Newton reported that in the first five months of the project, most of the targets set for the first year in the Annual Work Plan have been achieved.
“For example, we have been able to do training in the key areas of legislative drafting, mediation, arbitration and also expansion of legal databases,” she disclosed.
She also noted that the project would have significant socio-economic impact through drafting of legislation for the improvement of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy and OECS Economic Union.
Canadian High Commissioner Richard Hanley lauded the contributions of Professor Newton and former UWI Cave Hill Campus principal Sir Hilary Beckles to moving the project forward.
Professor Beckles, in a recorded message at the launch hailed the Project which has as its ultimate outcome, enhancing access to justice benefitting men, women, youth and businesses in 13 CARICOM Member States.