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Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Professor Kenneth Hall, has said that to ensure that Custodes and Justices of the Peace (JPs) are responsive to the changing needs of the nation, he would be re-examining the roles of “these servants of the people”.
He also called for a re-affirmation of the roles of Custodes and JPs in the country’s constitutional structure, to articulate their continued relevance in 21st Century Jamaica.
Addressing a meeting of civic and community leaders in Port Antonio, Portland on May 2, the Governor-General emphasised that Custodes and JPs have committed themselves to be an integral part of the activities in the society, and in the growth of the communities they serve.
Professor Hall said while citizens are directly represented by elected officials in these modern times, that representation did not exclude the contribution that Custodes and JPs could continue to make in the society, as they are persons who have established themselves as leaders in their communities.
The Governor-General pointed out that they are appointed to maintain an umbilical connection with the people at all levels in the society, so that they could impact the core values and cultural traditions that have shaped the nation’s history.
He added that while persons in those positions would maintain the traditional and constitutional role of their offices, they should also be in the vanguard of the effort to uphold the democratic principles of the nation.
Professor Hall encouraged Custodes and JPs to continue with the service they have been providing in the maintenance of law and order as well as in the other critical roles they play in the development of civil society.
He also exhorted them to work more closely with the elected members of Parliament and members of parish councils; to maintain stronger links with the offices of the Ministries of Education and Health and Children Services in their communities; to become more actively involved with training programmes that impact the future of young people in their communities; to strengthen the social capital by forging links between public and private sector entities; and to provide advice for important non-political appointments.
He told the gathering that he has always been fascinated by the parish and its potential for eco-tourism.
Professor Hall expressed appreciation to the people of Portland for the warm welcome extended to him during his first visit to the parish since taking office as the Governor-General.