Strides Made Under Centralisation of Legal Services Project

Attorney General, Marlene Malahoo Forte, says significant strides have been made under the Centralisation of Legal Services Project. The initiative, launched in April 2018, is geared towards improving the quality of legal services across the public sector. Making her contribution to the 2019/20 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 25, Mrs. Malahoo Forte said that the core project team, headed by Kayla Mills, is now in place and is working to ensure that the objectives are achieved and that key stakeholders are consulted and remain engaged. Story Highlights Attorney General, Marlene Malahoo Forte, says significant strides have been made under the Centralisation of Legal Services Project.The initiative, launched in April 2018, is geared towards improving the quality of legal services across the public sector.Making her contribution to the 2019/20 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 25, Mrs. Malahoo Forte said that the core project team, headed by Kayla Mills, is now in place and is working to ensure that the objectives are achieved and that key stakeholders are consulted and remain engaged.“A transition period was introduced on April 1, 2019 with the Chambers being designated Headquarters (HQ) and given administrative oversight for Legal Service Units (LSUs) in ministries. LSUs are now submitting monthly reports to HQ and meetings involving HQ and LSUs have increased,” she said.She noted that training in technical core competencies for legal officers began in September 2018, and to date, more than 15 training interventions focused on building capacity in key areas of law have been held.These include legislative process, basic elements of public law, preparation of legislative Cabinet submissions and drafting instructions, and processing of personal injury and motor vehicle accident claims.Mrs. Malahoo Forte said divisions of the Chambers have provided support in the implementation process by conducting training on various areas of the law, procedures and practices of the Government for members of LSUs as well as policy officers of ministries, departments and agencies.She noted that the training has been supported by the creation of a Legal Practice Handbook and expansion of the online law research facility to HQ and LSUs.“The transformation of business processes is happening alongside improvements in the information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure. Microsoft Office 365 has been rolled out in HQ as well as LSUs; we have upgraded our Wi-Fi and expanded bandwidth and are purchasing several new pieces of equipment,” she added.Mrs. Malahoo Forte expressed gratitude to the World Bank, which, along with the Finance and Public Service Ministry, has ensured funding for the modernisation initiatives.Cabinet, in 2017, approved recommendations outlined in a framework proposal for the centralisation of legal services to the Government under the Attorney General’s Department.The plan places the Department as the hub, which will include the onboarding of managers, legal officers and some employees of government ministries, who will report to the Solicitor General.Oversight of legal officers located within ministries will also be provided by the Attorney General’s Department. read more

JUTC Management In Meeting With Drivers And Union For Resumption Of Service

Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Robert Montague, says the management of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) is having a meeting with the drivers and their unions, so as to resume service as soon as possible.This follows the withdrawal of service by the State-run bus company today (September 24), following the death of one of their workers and subsequent threats on the lives of drivers attached to the company.In a Statement to the House of Representatives, Mr. Montague said there has been a withdrawal of service by the JUTC drivers.“There was a confrontation between a taxi operator and a JUTC driver last night (September 23). The taxi operator was stabbed and pronounced dead at hospital. The JUTC driver has since turned himself in to the police.Later on last night, a JUTC driver/mechanic, while working on a bus, was shot and, unfortunately, died,” he said.The Minister said since then, many threats and rumours have been circulating, especially on social media, noting that, as a result, the JUTC drivers are in fear of their lives.“We have had meetings with the unions, drivers, Ministry staff and the police. They have consulted with the police, who have established a presence at all depots and along the routes. This is to provide assurance to the taxi operators, JUTC drivers as well as the travelling public,” he said.He said consultations have been held with various taxi associations in the Corporate Area. “They have assured of normal service by their members. We have briefed the Opposition Spokesman as well as other stakeholders,” he said.The Minister urged citizens to remain calm and not to create panic. “We are asking persons not to create voice notes that seek to create panic and spread rumours. As we speak, the management of the JUTC is having a meeting with the drivers and their unions, so as to resume service as soon as it is humanly possible, but the constant rumours and allegations are not helping,” he said.He expressed regret at the loss of lives of the two persons. “I cannot imagine the grief and the pain the families are going through at this time. Let us keep them in our prayers,” he said.Mr. Montague said the police and others have deployed vehicles to assist stranded commuters in getting home.“Many private motorists have rallied to the call to be their brothers and sisters and have been transporting strangers. We commend and thank them, as in these challenging times, our real and true spirit always comes to the fore,” he said.The Minister appealed to all Jamaicans to be calm and lend a helping hand where they can. “We will continue to monitor and update the country with this unfolding situation,” he said.Meanwhile, Opposition Spokesperson on Transport, Mikael Phillips, expressed condolences to the families of those killed, and urged the police to carry out their investigations in the matter. Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Robert Montague, says the management of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) is having a meeting with the drivers and their unions, so as to resume service as soon as possible. In a Statement to the House of Representatives, Mr. Montague said there has been a withdrawal of service by the JUTC drivers. Story Highlights This follows the withdrawal of service by the State-run bus company today (September 24), following the death of one of their workers and subsequent threats on the lives of drivers attached to the company. read more