Source: The Communication's Unit,
Office Of The Prime Minister Of The
Government Of St. Kitts & Nevis
Copyright © By The Government Of St. Kitts & Nevis
Services of Legal Aid Clinic to move to rural areas, backlog of cases to be reduced in 2008, says Attorney General
BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, APRIL 8, 2008 (CUOPM) – The Ministry of the Attorney General, Justice and Legal Affairs will continue to play a leading role in protecting the nation’s resources, upholding justice and maintaining law and order.
So says the Attorney General, the Hon. Dennis Merchant in presenting his Ministry’s 2008 Business Plan.
Mr. Merchant, who is also the Minister of Justice and Legal Affiars said steps will be taken to build capacity in the Court System by ensuring that the full compliment of Magistrates are recruited and back logs in the system are eradicated.
“We continue to focus on creating a legislative framework that will assist in the transformation of our economy as it adjusts to the many social challenges created by the new world order in which we now live,” said Merchant.
He said his Ministry wholeheartedly embraces its role as the protector of the people’s rights and the nation’s environmental and natural resources and will continue to lead the fight in the maintenance of law and order and the administration of Justice through an efficient and effective Court system.”
The Attorney General disclosed that increasing access to Legal Aid Services will also be one of the main areas of focus for 2008.
“The Legal Aid Clinic that was started some two years ago will be moving its services to the Rural Communities to those persons who may still lack the ability to journey to Basseterre to make use of the Clinic,” said Merchant.
He also said that the much anticipated revision of local Laws will be entering its final stages and it is anticipated that the first half of the Revised Laws will be ready for publication during the latter part of 2008.
“Although we have not yet been given a specific completion date by the Law Revision Commissioner, it is safe to say that the Project is in its final stages and a definite prediction will be made shortly regarding its completion. Upon its completion, St. Kitts and Nevis will be one of the few Caribbean territories boasting a modernised set of Laws and which will have mechanisms and systems in place to continuously update and revise our laws over the years, without incurring the same huge financial costs,” said Merchant.
The establishment of a Law Library continues to be a high priority area for the Ministry. However this has not yet become a reality despite concerted efforts to bring this project to fruition.
“Lack of adequate space to house this facility remains a major obstacle to the Ministry’s efforts. However, we are resolved to find new and innovative ways to make this happen. One such possibility is to make the Library an “Electronic” one which would obviously not require the same degree of space and human resources to sustain its operations,” said Merchant.
He said his Ministry was cognisant of the mounting challenges regarding Law and Order and the tremendous demands being placed on the Legal System and in this regard no effort will be spared to finance and build capacity in the Magistracy and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The Ministry also proposes to be diligent in establishing the Office of the Ombudsman.
“We recognise that this office will serve to protect our citizens, residents and investors from fraudulent, unfair and illegal activities that victimises consumers or threaten public safety and will enforce laws that safeguard the environment and natural resources,” said the Attorney General, who added:
“The Ministry of the Attorney General, Justice and Legal Affairs will continue to partner with all sectors of government in moving the Federation forward being cognisant of the fact that nation building in a globalised economy demands the efforts of all citizens and residents. This Ministry stands ready to ensure that all efforts are undertaken with diligence, integrity and transparency.”
The Ministry will continue to play a leading role in the development of the new service-based economy and partner with all sectors of Government to move the Federation forward in a positive direction.