Jamaica government paying millions to settle judgements

Kingston – The Jamaica government says it has paid out an estimated J$530 million (One Jamaica dollar=US$0.008 cents) in judgement debt for 182 matters  last year.

Justice Minister Delroy Chuck, speaking during the ongoing 2024/25 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, said that when he was appointed to the portfolio judgement debt “was a major challenge”.

Last year, the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service allocated J$750 million towards judgement debts.

“I can tell you that there were lawyers who were begging me… the government owes them millions of dollars, and I thought it is unfair that they get the case settled, they have a judgement and yet they couldn’t get their money.

“So, under the former minister of finance, Audley Shaw in 2017, we urged him to let us have enough to pay up the judgment debts and in 2017/18 we got J$1.5 billion and paid off all the backlogs.

“What is important, since then every completed or settled case we have been able to pay. So, no one can say that they win a judgment, or they have unsettled claim and they have not gotten paid.

“We want to make sure that when people sue the Government for whatever infraction that they get their money, and under this Administration, we have done it for the last eight years,” Shaw told legislators.

The government has paid out J$5.8 billion in judgement debt since 2016, with a high of J$1.5 billion in 2017/2018.

A total of J$680 million has been earmarked to settle claims during the current financial year. (CMC)

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