Opposition spokesperson on legal affairs, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, is recommending that the Government undertake several measures to restore the public’s trust in the justice system.
Senator Lightbourne made the recommendations on Friday in the Senate while making her contribution to the State of the Nation Debate.
“I suggest that in order to rekindle public interest and trust, the minister should commit to and take the following action: One – honour the constitutional guarantee of establishing the independence of all courts by ensuring that all judges enjoy security of tenure and are not subject to conditions imposed by the executive,” she said.
Senator Lightbourne proposed the efficiency of the courts be improved so as to expedite the delivery of justice.
“It cannot be that a man is charged, as we have often heard before the criminal courts – but his case does not come for trial until five or six years later,” she said.
“Witnesses have forgotten the evidence, migrated, died or just lost interest and so persons go free,” she pointed out.
In a speech, which seems to have been drafted in response to the presentation of Minister of Justice, Senator A.J. Nicholson last month, calling for a debate on the justice system, Senator Lightbourne said this was not the time for debate but for for decisive action.
“I urge the minister to listen to the cries of the people for justice and resolve to take action even as the late stage on some of the matters suggested,” she said.
She also called for an independent body to investigate complaints filed against the police and that the investigations and hearings should be held in public and the decisions published.
“These complaints should be investigated by an independent body. The investigations and hearings should be held in public and the decisions published,” she said.
She also suggested that to improve the efficiency, Resident Magistrates’ Courts should be expanded to create a family court division, with one in every parish.
Meanwhile, Senator Lightbourne, who is also spokesperson on gender affairs, is proposing that the office of Children’s Advocate be expanded to protect the rights of children and the interest of children in civil, criminal, property, and estate and divorce proceedings.
Her proposal is in response to what she says is the frightening number of women murdered last year and the random killing of children.