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Chuck urges ministries to update penalties in law

Friday, January 18, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Justice Minister Delroy Chuck is mandating all ministries to update the penalties of various laws this calendar year.

“In each of these laws, we'll be putting a particular provision so that the penalties can be updated as regularly as possible,” he said.

The minister was addressing the opening of a two-day Legislative Production Management System (LPMS) Workshop, at the Constant Spring Road offices of the Ministry, in Kingston yesterday.

The Ministry of Justice is the lead administrator of justice in Jamaica and therefore administers legislation, delivers justice services, and provides policy support and analysis on justice issues.

Chuck indicated that the process of updating penalties began with his ministry with support from the Attorney General's Chambers and will be tabled “at the next sitting of Parliament.”

He added that the updates will be the first since Jamaica became a colony as well as an independent nation, “as many of the laws still reflect (pound sterling)” and have penalties denominated in lower value, such as $2 or $20.

Chuck said the Law Reform Department will be tasked with examining the laws of Jamaica, “so that over the next few years all outdated laws are brought up to date.”

The minister informed that currently, there are over 100 laws at the legislative stage to be passed, which relate to money laundering, human trafficking, intellectual property theft and lottery scamming.

Chuck said the country is depending on the participants of the workshop, many of whom include legislative drafters, policy analysts and legal officers, to use the LPMS to expedite the process of getting laws to Parliament to become part of the country's governance structure.

“This will assist us to ensure that Jamaica is up-to-date with its laws, that we reflect modern legislation in various areas of human rights, governance and human trafficking and generally to ensure we have an orderly society,” he said.á á

Provided by the Government of Canada, the LPMS software, which was launched in 2017, has been tailored to the needs of Jamaica.

This technologically advanced tool has significant and far-reaching implications on Jamaica's capacity to efficiently draft new legislation and update existing statutes.

The development and introduction of the LPMS is a major undertaking of the ministry's Justice Reform Implementation Unit.

The justice ministry will not be the only entity which will benefit from the LPMS, as its facilitation of workflow and knowledge management will unify and automate related functions carried out by several departments and agencies of government, including the Attorney General's Chambers.

áIn her remarks, Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica Laurie Peters said her country has been highly supportive and responsive to Jamaica's Justice Reform Agenda.

Peters noted that the file management aspect of the software is already operational to streamline the records of the legal office at the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel (OPC) and Legal Reform Department to improve research and records management practices.

She is hoping that the intention of improving the overall efficiency in the legislation process will be realised in the near future with the use of the software.

— JISá

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