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  • Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, is calling on Justices of the Peace (JPs) to work with law-abiding citizens and other stakeholders to address wrongdoing in their communities.
  • He said that JPs are not only expected to be leaders but the conscience of a community, representing what is good, right and civil, while being equipped with the knowledge to carry out their duties effectively.
  • “I am urging Justices of the Peace to be proactive and to watch what is happening. Coalesce… organise with various stakeholders, be it the police, pastors, teachers and other agencies, and make sure that wrongdoers know that they are being watched… because across the country, if right-thinking members stand up for what is right, the wrongdoers will have to retreat,” Minister Chuck said.

Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, is calling on Justices of the Peace (JPs) to work with law-abiding citizens and other stakeholders to address wrongdoing in their communities.

He said that JPs are not only expected to be leaders but the conscience of a community, representing what is good, right and civil, while being equipped with the knowledge to carry out their duties effectively.

“I am urging Justices of the Peace to be proactive and to watch what is happening. Coalesce… organise with various stakeholders, be it the police, pastors, teachers and other agencies, and make sure that wrongdoers know that they are being watched… because across the country, if right-thinking members stand up for what is right, the wrongdoers will have to retreat,” Minister Chuck said.

“If you don’t take up the space in your communities and in the country, and really inform and ensure that what is civil and decent prevails, then the indisciplined, the corrupt, the dons, they will take the space as they do in far too many communities,” he added.

Minister Chuck was speaking at a sensitisation session for JPs and law-enforcement officers hosted by the Legal Aid Council (LAC) on Tuesday (March 10), at the AC by Marriott in New Kingston.

Approximately 200 personnel turned out for the session, which focused on the roles of JPs, rights of remandees and minors, extending detention, bail application, bail consideration and child diversion.

Dr. Chuck said that many more training sessions will be held. “I am in discussion with various international agencies to ensure that we can continue these sessions… . They see that we are trying to do a good job across the country because the people of Jamaica need to be trained and understand their roles,” he said.

Attendees were addressed by Queen’s Counsel Caroline Hay, who spoke about the rights of detainees and remandees, as well as the responsibility that JPs and police personnel have towards persons in custody.

JP serving the parish of St. Catherine, Sophia Deer, said the session was informative and provided sound guidance on how to assist persons in police custody.

“From time to time I go and assist with giving Caution Statements at the police station in my community. This has broadened my horizon, as, sometimes, persons will come and they have young men in custody and you are not 100 per cent sure on how to guide them.

“So, Mrs. Hay’s presentation has enlightened some of that. I have also been considering if one of the outreach activities I should do is go and visit the lock-ups. Her presentation has inspired me to go back and be part of that in my parish,” she said.

Attorney-at-law and JP serving Kingston, Josemar Belnavis, for his part, said that the presentation was timely, and was in keeping with the Ministry’s drive in relation to Restorative Justice, reducing crime and ensuring peace and safety in communities.

St. Andrew JP and entrepreneur, Daveia Bowie, noted that the session provided an important reminder of the value JPs provide to their communities.

“I think the session was a very good one in all aspects, as it educated us on the responsibilities of JPs, which we should bear in mind. I also look forward to more training on things we do in our daily activities to enhance the way we carry out our jobs,” said Mrs. Bowie.

The sensitisation session involved support from the Canadian government, Citizens Security and Justice Programme (CSJP), United Kingdom Aid Direct, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

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