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  • Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, is encouraging a wider cross section of Jamaicans with unquestionable integrity and unblemished characters to apply to become Justices of the Peace (JPs).
  • “Far too often we have been appointing JPs who are business people and really they are in their business places and they don’t make themselves available. So, I urge the Custodes to appoint more pastors and teachers who are generally people who know the people in the community,” Mr. Chuck said
  • The Minister pointed out that the service of JPs would remain unpaid, as it is a voluntary service, adding that the Government would have to be very careful about introducing payment for the service.

Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, is encouraging a wider cross section of Jamaicans with unquestionable integrity and unblemished characters to apply to become Justices of the Peace (JPs).

“Far too often we have been appointing JPs who are business people and really they are in their business places and they don’t make themselves available. So, I urge the Custodes to appoint more pastors and teachers who are generally people who know the people in the community,” Mr. Chuck said.

The Minister was responding to questions following a statement to the House of Representatives on October 19, on restorative justice and other justice services.

He said that it is important that there are more JPs in every parish and community, especially in the inner city and rural areas.

“We are working on that over the next few months so that we have more than enough JPs,” the Minister said.

“The position is that you should have a Justice of the Peace for every 100 persons. Now if we had a JP for every 100 persons, we would have more than 20,000. At the moment, we have less than 6,000,” Mr. Chuck noted.

He further urged Custodes in the respective parishes, who will make the final decision along with their panel, not to be partial in recommending JPs for appointment or in choosing JPs to participate in training and other programmes.

“There should be equal opportunity for all who are willing, qualified and able to serve,” he said.

Mr. Chuck implored Justices of the Peace to maintain the standards and dignity of their office. “Remain steadfast and beyond reproach in these trying times, when persons try to inveigle (you) to do things that would bring your integrity into question,” the Minister emphasised.

He noted that while Members of Parliament (MPs) and parish councillors can sign documents as Justices of the Peace, they do not have a stamp or seal unless they participate in the required training process.

“You have to do 18 hours of training before you can become a Justice of the Peace. So, if Members of Parliament would like to have the JP behind their names they have to go through the training like all JPs,” the Minister explained.

He said discussions are ongoing with the trainers at the Justice Training Institute to develop a shorter programme for MPs and parish councillors to acquire the stamp.

The Minister pointed out that the service of JPs would remain unpaid, as it is a voluntary service, adding that the Government would have to be very careful about introducing payment for the service.

He noted, however, that those who are trained as mediators can be paid as mediators, and Custodes are paid a stipend to maintain an office and assist in the Lay Magistrate’s Court.