Public Relations Officer of the Lay Magistrates Association of Jamaica (LMAJ), Claudette Bryan, says members fully understand the role the organisation plays in society as a body of committed volunteers, and the need to remain visible… even amidst a raging pandemic.
“In previous years, all chapters would have had activities to commemorate the LMAJ month (in April). In St. James we would normally go into the schools… have devotion with the children…and let the role of the LMAJ be known,” she said, at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’ at the agency’s regional office in Montego Bay, St. James, on April 13.
“What we do find is that many of our young people… in fact, many persons across the island… do not know the role of a justice of the peace. So, one of the things we have been doing over the years is to sensitise the people, so as to make them become more aware as to who we are and the function that we play,” Ms. Bryan added.
She noted that the LMAJ still has plans in place to salvage what is left of the organisation’s traditional April celebratory month.
For her part, LMAJ’s Regional Vice-President, Paulette Kirkland, said that despite the pandemic, the parish chapters have been meticulously carrying out a series of events to commemorate the month.
“For example, in Portland, they are mounting a display in the parish library that will be showcasing the work of the LMAJ. They have also indicated that they will be digitising some of these things with the intention being to sensitise the public as best as possible about the things we have been doing in communities across the island,” she said.
The Regional Vice-President said that Justices of the Peace (JPs) have for decades been providing yeoman service to the nation, putting service above self… oftentimes without fanfare or even a semblance of recognition.
“The organisation is as good as the members that it serves and also the public,” Ms. Kirkland said.
“So, if we have members who have gone through life and are in need or are having challenges… then we do have an obligation to render whatever assistance we can… especially at a time when we are celebrating LMAJ month. If we cannot find the time to focus on our own members, then we are truly not setting a good example as to how we care for each other,” she added.
The LMAJ was formed in February 1985 as an umbrella organisation for the JPs from across the island. It is a non-partisan organisation that also plays an important role in assisting to reduce the high backlog of cases in the parish courts.