The Government of Jamaica has joined 96 countries across the world in taking steps to address the issue of international abduction of children in family law cases.
Having passed the Children’s Guardianship and Custody (Amendment) Act, 2016 in February of this year, Jamaica became Party to The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction on May 1, 2017.
Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade recalled that when piloting the Bill in the Senate, she explained that “The enactment of this law will allow for the expeditious return of children wrongfully removed from their custodial parent and usual place of residence. It will also bring an earlier end to emotionally draining situations, while providing legal certainty in family law cases.”
Senator Johnson Smith also explained that as sovereign nations cannot interfere with each other’s legal systems, the Convention provides a system of cooperation between States Parties through their designated Central Authorities, to combat parental child abduction. The provisions of the Convention can be used once a child is removed from Jamaica, where the child is a resident, and taken to another country that is Party to the Convention; and the provisions can also be used if the child is taken from another country that is Party to the Convention and brought to Jamaica.
By way of an update, she said “We are pleased to advise that the Child Development Agency, has now been designated as the Central Authority for Jamaica and will therefore be responsible for sending and receiving applications from the Central Authorities of other States which are Party to the Convention.
The Minister also advised that in order to file a Hague Application, the Central Authority should be contacted using the following information:
Name: Maxine Bagalue (Mrs.)
Position: Adoption Coordinator
Organization: Child Development Agency
Address: 48 Duke Street, Kingston
Telephone: 876-922-1751 (L), 876-469-4639 (M),
876-948-2841-2,922-8857, 922-5615 Ext. 227 (Switchboard)
Email Address: email@example.com
Authority Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org