'We owe nothing!'

Chuck says Gov't has settled all judgement debts

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

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Justice Minister Delroy Chuck yesterday reported that the Government has settled all judgement debts due at the end of the 2017/2018 fiscal year, suggesting that the clearing of the arrears was likely historic.

“We owe nothing!” Chuck trumpeted in his contribution to the sectoral debate in Parliament. He said that the Ministry of Finance provided $1,309,790,000, allowing the Administration to settle 303 matters.

“All matters submitted from the Attorney General's Chambers were paid... In fact, up to Friday, May 18, 2018, we have paid up our judgement debts, ie, 56 matters, totalling just over $78 million. This is a signal achievement we hope to sustain,” Chuck said.

He also said that during the fiscal year the Government disbursed compensation to 418 individuals affected by the May 2010 security forces operation in western Kingston.

“The ministry paid out $55.84 million to victims directly and transferred $134.57 million to the Administrator General's Department to compensate the estates of deceased persons,” Chuck reported.

However, he said that, while the Government has satisfied its indebtedness for the negligence and misconduct of public servants, he wanted to urge the police, medical personnel and other public servants to act with due care and precaution in the exercise of their duties.

“The Ministry of Justice did not incur these debts, but it has to satisfy them from its budgetary allocation,” Chuck pointed out. “Imagine, Mr Speaker, just how many more courts, schools, hospitals, roads, etc that could be fixed with the $500 million to over $1 billion that we pay out annually for misconduct and unprofessional behaviour by our public servants. They must do better! For example, in one instance, a police officer negligently seized an aeroplane in 1995 and as a result we had to pay close to US$2 million in judgement debt in the last fiscal year.”

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