MONTEGO BAY — Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, says there are plans, by his Ministry, to grant Justices of the Peace (JPs) a ‘stipend’, to cover their expenses while serving in Lay Magistrate’s Courts and Community Justice Tribunals.
Addressing about 150 JPs in St. Ann on Tuesday (December 6), at a special meeting at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort and Spa, Ocho Rios, the Justice Minister said that their roles will be expanded, and considerations for a stipend were being seriously considered.
He said that he hoped that more JPs will be able to participate in the Community Justice Tribunals and Mediations, and that matters that come to the Resident Magistrate’s Court can be referred to a Community Justice Tribunal, where a panel of two or three JP’s can listen to both sides and settle issues.
“This is an area which will be of great assistance to reducing the burden on the courts,” Mr. Chuck stated.
He said this meant that there is a need for more JPs to be trained for Mediation and Restorative Justice, which the Ministry is in the process of establishing. He said that currently there are 5,000 JPs, but he hoped that the number can be doubled.
"It is you, the respectable members of society, who we want to be able to give assistance in these programmes,” Mr. Chuck announced.
"I am really looking at the opportunity, where persons who are called upon to serve in the Lay Magistrate Courts and in these Community Justice Tribunals, can be given, not pay but a stipend that can cover their expenses,” Mr. Chuck said.
“How this will happen, we are still to work out a plan and put this in place soon,” he explained.
The Justice Minister also noted a number of additional tasks and programmes that will be added to the responsibilities of the Justices of the Peace, such as minor traffic offences and the possession of ganja. He called on the JPs to be at the ‘forefront” of what is right and just in Jamaica.
By Glenis Rose, JIS Reporter