MONTEGO BAY — Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, has expressed the view that if Jamaica is to recover and restore pride of place in the Caribbean and the world, citizens must become peace makers and ensure that 'justice is spread across all communities in Jamaica'.
"The former Chief Justice once said that ‘there can be no peace without justice' and where there is no justice, believe me, there is going to be conflicts and disputes. So, we need to have justice in the interplay between communities, businesses, in the courts and in the interplay between the police and citizens," Mr. Chuck said.
He was addressing Justices of the Peace (JPs) and personnel from the Ministry of Justice' Restorative Justice Unit, at an Advanced Training and Sensitization on Restorative Justice programme, at the Holy Trinity Church Hall, Montego Bay on Wednesday October 12.
The Justice Minister observed that very often victims of crime and criminal activities, who experience trauma, only needed someone to show support, by talking to them or by just listening to their story. He called on JPs to give their assistance to the ‘Victim Support Unit’.
"We are not going to eliminate crime in our country with injustice neither are we going to eliminate crime with more crime," the Minister said.
He stated that the country may never be able to eliminate injustice, but it must seek to reduce the incidences of innocent persons being locked up.
"I am there calling on you Justices of the Peace, to put your feet down because no one can be detained without the approval or intervention of the Justices of the Peace", Mr. Chuck advised.
He said that JPs must become the 'checks and balance' on police powers, if injustice is to be eliminated.
"Justices of the Peace, you are the first in the front line that the police officer has to convince before he can put that man in the jail cell and if you feel that he is not being detained for a good reason, then you must have that strength of character and that strength of leadership to say to the officer I am not satisfied officer… If he goes ahead, then he would have been wrong", the Minister explained.
He told the JPs that when they stand up for what is right and just, people will respect them. He also urged them to communicate with their Custodes, and assist by making regular visits to jails to help protect the innocent and helpless in the country.
By Glenis Rose, JIS Reporter