Newly sworn-in Custos Rotulorum (Keeper of the Rolls) of St. Andrew, the Hon. Marigold Harding, says she will be carefully monitoring the list of Justices of the Peace (JPs) in the parish, and will seek to ensure that they are visible in their communities.
Speaking on Thursday (September 2) at King’s House following her installation by the Governor General, His Excellency, the Most Hon Sir Patrick Allen, Mrs Harding, said that one of her first duties will be to ensure that there is an up-to-date list of JPs in the parish.
She said that, after discussions with some of her colleagues, she also felt that more young persons should be added to the list.
Custos Rotulorum Marigold Harding receives the Grand Commission and the Magistrates Roll for St. Andrew from Governor General, His Excellency Sir Patrick Allen, following her installation at King’s House on Thursday (September 2).
“We have a current listing of some 1,200 JPs, but many have passed on, some are over the age of 70, which make them ineligible to serve in the Courts and some are even living overseas,” Mrs. Harding noted.
She said that adding younger persons to the list could forge a closer link with the younger generation, and facilitate quicker and better communication using modern technology.
She stated that a major part of her mission as Custos was to fully engage the services and cooperation of the St. Andrew JPs, to be more visible in their communities.
Custos of St. Andrew, Hon Marigold Harding (right), greets former Custos of St. Andrew, Bishop the Hon Dr. Carmen Stewart O.J. (left), during her installation ceremony at King’s House on Thursday (September 2).
“Too often we’re told that the community does not know the JP nor do the JPs know the members of their communities. Those of us who accept to do public service must do it with all our hearts, with full dedication and remember always that whatever we do, it is for our country,” she urged.
Mrs. Harding also reminded her colleagues that the office of the JP went far beyond witnessing documents. She recalled that their roles were voluntary and, therefore, they should charge absolutely no fees in the execution of their tasks.
She assured the country that she was committed to carrying out her responsibilities and duties, “with full regard and respect for the tenets of the office and with integrity and humility.”
“If we have better communities we will have a better Jamaica. I therefore ask your help to let us build a better Jamaica by building better communities,” she appealed.
The Governor General said Mrs. Harding’s appointment comes at a very critical juncture for the parish of St. Andrew, and for Jamaica.
“There are many challenges, several of which have their origin in the breakdown of family life and youth underachievement, and they require collective participation for the healing, restoration and prosperity of our nation,” he said.
He stated that Mrs. Harding had a golden opportunity to use her office to mediate, inspire, motivate and encourage citizens in her community to seek new paths and a better way of life through peace, love, respect and unity.
“And you will not have to do it alone, you have a cadre of over 1,000 Justices of the Peace in this parish to support you,” he reassured.
Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, noted that Mrs. Harding was ideal for the role of Custos of St. Andrew, pointing to her ability to serve her community beyond political divisions and alliances.
“It is an aspect of her persona that with her commitment to serving the public, the innovativeness of her ideas and her ability to motivate and mobilise people to action, will make her an excellent choice as Custos of St. Andrew,” he said.
Mrs. Harding was appointed Custos in August, following the retirement of Bishop the Hon Carmen Stewart, OJ, OD, who served as Custos of the parish from 1992 until her retirement on August 8 this year.
As Custos, she will be the representative of the Governor-General in St. Andrew. Among her responsibilities, she will serve as Chief Lay Magistrate for the parish and ensure that there are sufficient Justices of the Peace/Lay Magistrates to serve the Petty Sessions Courts and communities throughout St. Andrew.