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A Bill to Amend the Justices of Peace Jurisdiction Act, to penalize persons who litter public places, was passed on Tuesday (Nov. 7) in the House of Representatives.
The legislation will see the issuance of tickets for public littering offences, including defacing property with graffiti or failing to properly dispose of garbage.
Piloting the Bill, Minister of National Security and Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives, Dr. Peter Phillips, said “what this Act seeks to do is to establish a fixed penalty notice issued under section 53.2 of the National Solid Waste Management Act, to operate as both an information and a summons, to facilitate the cleanliness of our country by allowing for tickets to be issued for offences in much the same way you issue a ticket for a driving offence.”
He added that, “we recognize the urgent need to do something which facilitates greater levels of cleanliness and civic mindedness as far as the environment is concerned.”
Justifying the need for the legislation, Dr. Phillips explained that under the previous Act, the fixed penalty notice, which could be issued to transgressors of the litter laws, was incapable of operating as an automatic summons to court.
Rising to support the Bill, Opposition Spokesman on Justice, Delroy Chuck, said there was widespread public apathy towards environmental care and appropriate garbage disposal. He noted that there needed to be accompanying public education and stringent enforcement of the Act to ensure compliance.
“There is no doubt that under the National Solid Waste Management Authority Act, much can be done to ensure that persons comply with the regulations, especially where we have people littering the streets, writing graffiti and exposing our gullies to garbage. Far too many persons see the gullies as garbage containers,” Mr. Chuck pointed out.
He called for the appointment of more Justices of the Peace (JPs) to assist in the enforcement of the newly amended Act.
“We have a problem especially in the inner city areas and rural communities of a shortage of JPs. The present system is not working,” he said, while proposing that school principals and other notary publics should be automatically considered for appointment as JPs.