Declaring that Jamaica is in a state of “perpetual anger,” Doran Dixon is encouraging more citizens to engage alternative dispute resolution services offered by the Ministry of Justice to work through disagreements.
“There’s too much anger everywhere and if we’re going to try to [fix] that and get rid of it, mediation and conflict resolution are critical,” the court mediator and former president of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association said on Friday.
Dixon was speaking at Friday’s meeting of the Rotary Club of New Kingston, where he noted that citizens’ inability to resolve conflicts amicably have impacted the country’s crime rate.
“You just have to look around, feel the kind of anger that there is between everybody – road rage, domestic violence, interpersonal disconnect, young people and the police, employer and employee. All of that just comes out in terms of how angry we are as a society and sometimes it becomes deadly,” he said.
Stating that mediation involves resolving matters of the court in a less punitive manner, he argued that it should be considered more often.
“It’s an alternative to persons going to the formal court system. It’s cheaper because you don’t need a lawyer to facilitate mediation. It is more engaging, more relaxing, where you can have a little time to look at your opposing party and say, ‘Sorry … . This is what happened. I’m willing to do this to correct what wrong I would have done to you’,” he told the Rotarians.
Dixon, in the meantime, lauded the different services offered by the Ministry of Justice in support of conflict resolution and mediation, adding that they, in turn, benefit the justice system overall. He pointed to the ongoing restorative justice initiative as well its child diversion programme as examples.
He also noted that considerable work has been done by the Government to strengthen lay magistrates’ courts.
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