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  • Chief Executive Officer of the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), Andrew Wynter, is imploring Justices of the Peace (JPs) to be vigilant when certifying passport documents.
  • “Justices of the Peace play an important role with PICA in maintaining the integrity of the Jamaican passport system. We rely heavily on their uprightness, so I want to encourage each JP to act responsibly when verifying the documents of persons,” he said.
  • Mr. Wynter was addressing a recent JP sensitisation session hosted by the Ministry of Justice at the Courtyard by Marriot in New Kingston.

Chief Executive Officer of the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), Andrew Wynter, is imploring Justices of the Peace (JPs) to be vigilant when certifying passport documents.

“Justices of the Peace play an important role with PICA in maintaining the integrity of the Jamaican passport system. We rely heavily on their uprightness, so I want to encourage each JP to act responsibly when verifying the documents of persons,” he said.

Mr. Wynter was addressing a recent JP sensitisation session hosted by the Ministry of Justice at the Courtyard by Marriot in New Kingston.

He said that 85 per cent of passport applications are made locally, with 15 per cent done overseas, and all first applications must be certified by an authorised signature, such as that of a JP.

“Ninety per cent of first-time applications are certified by a JP, so we rely on them in ensuring that the identity of the applicant is correct. JPs, you cannot compromise on this, because identity theft is one of the biggest crimes in the world,” Mr. Wynter said.

He noted that in the past, JPs have been reported to the Minister of Justice and even prosecuted for falsely declaring to know persons of questionable character.

“The misuse of your seal can result in serious consequences, such as a fine of up to half a million dollars or even imprisonment, and because your seal has a unique identification number, it leads right back to you,” Mr. Wynter pointed out.

He noted that the PICA compliance rate is 98 per cent and this would not be attainable without the support of JPs.

Mr. Wynter said that the course of justice is perverted when criminals obtain passports because they are verified by a JP as persons of good character.

“Being a JP is a serious responsibility; it is not a duty to be taken lightly. I implore you all to live up to the oath you would have taken to become a JP and also to protect your reputation,” he stressed.

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