A proposal to increase the stipend for jurors who serve in the nation’s courts has been submitted to the Ministry of Justice says Director, Court Administration Division (CAD), Tricia Cameron Anglin.
“We recognise that it is really low and so, we have made [a recommendation]. I can report that the Minister of Justice, Delroy Chuck and the National Council of Justice have been looking carefully at the stipend provided for jurors and, very soon, we will hear in Parliament a decision taken on an increase in the jury stipend,” she said.
She was addressing a ‘Conversation with the Judiciary’ event held recently at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston.
Jurors, who are ordinary citizens, play a key role in the justice system by determining the guilt or innocence of persons accused of an offence based on the facts of the case presented in court.
Cameron Anglin noted that most jurors, especially from rural communities, face financial constraints in traveling to and from the court.
“We’ve had to assist many of them, especially in the rural areas, to get to court and actually get them back home,” she noted.
The recommendation to increase the stipend is part of the steps being taken by the CAD to address the shortage of jurors.
The turnout of jurors for the court has fallen off, as many persons relocated during COVID-19.
Cameron Anglin said the CAD is cleaning the list of jurors and “we have also expanded the list so that we can be able to reach the jurors where they are and get more persons coming in to serve”.
She noted that the entity is also working with its stakeholders to better assist in locating jurors and get them ready for court.