Thu | Nov 26, 2015

Streamline criminal injuries compensation

Published:Friday | June 14, 2013 | 12:00 AM


We appreciate the 'big tent' and refreshing approach of the minister concerning the proposed terms of reference in relation to the imminent commission of enquiry into the May 2010 Tivoli Gardens police-military operation.

As we embark, however, it would be prudent to consider a 'big idea' to redound to the benefit of the wider Jamaican populace from this really awful episode.

Perhaps an easily harvested seminal outcome from this intended exercise should be the creation of a criminal injuries compensation body. This institution would be tasked with the responsibility to procure and award appropriate sums of compensation to everyday hapless and blameless victims of crime and crime-related violence.

'Victims' would be sufficiently broadly defined to encapsulate physical, mental and other distress arising from the criminal and other material violence.

In this regard, the State, therefore, would not be contemplating compensation in any isolated, one-off, ad hoc manner. An underpinning philosophy of the State being responsible, sensitive and responsive to its citizens would be a lasting legacy.

Of note, this is no revolutionary concept, as precedent and guidance can be sourced from a number of countries, including the United Kingdom and Canada.