JAMBAR has an important role to play in: our jurisprudence and in advocating for strengthening the system of justice; being jealous and zealous guardians for the independence of practitioners and the judiciary; facilitating collegiate relations between attorneys; and fostering good relations between the bench and the bar. To be impactful on the Jamaican society, JAMBAR is striving to reach beyond insularity or being self-serving, lest it risk becoming irrelevant.
Recently JAMBAR has undertaken a number of initiatives. These include:
- The institutional strengthening at JAMBAR, seeking to make it more relevant to all attorneys-at-law in Jamaica. With that in mind, JAMBAR has introduced proposals for new benefits to our members, among them:
- group health insurance and retirement schemes through regulated and prudential providers
- the creation of a research office and mini-library for use by all JAMBAR members to be located at the JAMBAR office; and
- Group PI insurance for JAMBAR members, and
- a recently implemented MOU with Scotiabank whereby that bank offers a suite of financial services for the benefit of JAMBAR members.
- JAMBAR always has been a strident and resolute voice for the most vulnerable in society against oppressive conduct, urging necessary and legal reforms and legislative changes.
- JAMBAR will continue its work with all stakeholders to assist in the creation of a better justice system. Our various sub-committees review and suggest changes to our laws, legal practice and regulatory procedures that impact the delivery of justice and legal services that touch the lives of citizens in their family life, business life and with one another, the Jamaican government and foreign countries.
- Improving communication on topical issues through greater use of the JAMBAR website, technology and social media.
We must never take for granted the role of an independent, fearless and courageous bar association. Stephen Saltzburg from the George Washington University School of Law correctly observes that “… as the world becomes more complex and therefore more dangerous, governments seek to limit individual rights in the name of crime control and/or national security. … We must always keep in mind that individual rights once lost are not easily regained. Accordingly, the unique and important role of an independent bar in protecting and defending liberty is more, not less, important than ever before… Lawyers and judges remind us that preserving the rule of law, often is a challenge requiring self-sacrifice and risk-taking, is something never to be taken for granted. If any good comes from governmental efforts to deny detainees lawyers, it is a reminder of the importance of an independent bar…” (Saltzburg, Stephen, A., “The Importance of an Independent Bar”. GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 282; Criminal Justice, Vol. 22, No. 4, winter 2008).
The necessity for the continued work of an independent and proactive JAMBAR can be justified based on the observations by The Hon. Dr. Lloyd Barnett, OJ in 1999 in his address to the Carter Centre when he stated:
… Over the 50 years of representative government in Jamaica, it has been generally alleged and often assumed, without the substantiation of specific allegations and proven cases that a considerable amount of corruption exists in national affairs. The political experience is that the parties in opposition have usually accused the party in power of conducting a corrupt administration. Historically, when the accusing party has gained power and established Commissions of Inquiry to conduct a widespread investigation of the previous administration very little has been unearthed to substantiate the allegations … The rumors are, however, too persistent and the statements made in private by reliable persons too frequent to ignore the allegations…”.
– Donovan C. Walker