Jamaica has received $8.9 million worth of funding from its long-term partner Canada. The funding is to be used in the development of the Caribbean country’s justice system through the Social Justice (So-JUST) Project. The Social Justice Project will run from 2023 to 2030. It will operate with the aim of creating a justice system that is equitable, based on rights, and gender sensitive. The Social Justice Project will place the ideals of equity, access, participation, and rights at its forefront.
The areas of focus for the Social Justice Project will be improving access and the rights to justice for people with disabilities, young girls, and women. The project will also aim to assist Jamaicans who live in rural and vulnerable communities. This would include citizens living in poverty-stricken conditions and victims of gender-based violence.
Jamaican Justice Minister, Delroy Chuck; Canada’s Minister of International Development, Harjit Sajjan; and Canada’s High Commissioner to Jamaica, Emina Tudakovic were present at the Social Justice Projects launch.
Statement from Justice Minister Chuck
Justice Minister Delroy Chuck said, “Jamaica must respond by becoming a peaceful, safe and secure society.” He noted that in certain instances Jamaicans opted to take matters into their own hands and resolve issues violently and hoped that the Social Justice Project would change the way citizens operate. “This program is really one where we expect strong communication so that every citizen is made aware you have help, you can get help. Use the services being provided by the Ministry of Justice and other stakeholders and State agencies and in doing so, we hopefully can create a kinder and gentler society, we certainly can reduce, deter and prevent as many violent confrontations, which figuratively gives Jamaica a bad name,” Chuck said.
Canada’s Minister of International Development emphasized the importance of the Social Justice Project and how it would help Jamaican society with restorative justice, child diversion programs, and child justice coordination systems. “This directly improves justice outcomes by reducing the backlog in the courts. For women and girls in rural areas, the extension of access to legal-aid systems has a direct impact,” Sajjan said. Sajjan highlighted the ties shared by Canada and Jamaica, a sentiment that was reiterated by High Commissioner Tudakovic who said Canada is “honored to be associated with the justice reform process” in Jamaica.