Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Robert Rainford, has said that efforts are underway to strengthen public trust and confidence in the justice system, so as to improve the relationship between Government and the people.
Mr. Rainford, who was addressing the installation ceremony for 31 new Justices of the Peace (JP) for the parish of St. James at the Wexford Hotel in Montego Bay last week, said that the lack of adequate attention to all areas of the justice system over the years, has led to a weakening of the trust relationship between the state and the people.
“Several legislative initiatives have therefore been undertaken to strengthen public trust and confidence and thereby to enable more citizens to participate in the justice system”, Mr. Rainford said.
Among these is the Sexual Offences Act, which was passed in Parliament late last year. “Today, our women and children have legislation targeted to protect them from some of the most heinous sexual crimes that have plagued them over the years,” he pointed out.
Newly installed Justice of the Peace for St. James, Clive Taffe (right) receiving his instrument of office from Custos of St. James the Hon. Ewen Corrodus, during the installation ceremony for 31 new Justices of the Peace for the parish last week at the Wexford Hotel in Montego Bay.
Mr. Rainford further noted the move to establish a sex offender registry, so as to enable the tracking of offenders under the Act.
He said that JPs are critical components of the future of the justice system and so challenged them all to take their offices very seriously and to ensure that they serve with integrity.
Custos of St. James the Hon. Ewen Corrodus, in bringing greetings at the ceremony, said that gone are the days when the job of the JP was to sign documents.
“Gone are the days when the office of Justice of the Peace was just a status symbol or a measure of your social standing. Jamaica needs you, this parish needs you, our legal system needs you. We all need you to make a difference in your respective communities in this parish and across this nation. It is now action time!” He stated.
“You are privileged to be among a new breed of justices, who are expected to be proactive in instituting and participating in programmes for social reform in your communities. It is now action time!” Custos Corrodus stressed.