Chuck calls out delinquent JPs - Honours those giving decades of yeoman service
Justice Minister Delroy Chuck has come down strongly on justices of the peace (JPs) in St Catherine who he says are bringing the vocation into disrepute.
"We recognise the outstanding work done by JPs [but] regrettably there are a few that bring the vocation into disrepute, and, sadly, in St Catherine, there are quite a few, and this is why this association must bond together fully," Chuck told attendees at the St Catherine Justice of the Peace Association inaugural banquet. The event was held last Saturday at the Caymanas Golf Club in the parish.
The association has 1,600 members and, according to the justice minister, there may be less than a dozen who are bringing the role of the JPs in St Catherine into disrepute, by charging for their services to the public.
"It is important that you identify them, bring them to the attention of the custos, and, after the appropriate disciplinary action is taken, they can be decommissioned," said Chuck.
He said the previous custos, during his tenure, had identified a few who were subsequently dealt with. He expressed the hope that the association sees it as one of its important functions to ensure that those who want to see this outstanding vocation be held in low esteem are removed.
"It is inappropriate for JPs to put up signs saying the office of the JP. I see it when I go across Jamaica. It is not a profession, it is a voluntary service," the justice minister said.
He continued: "And, as I said to many JPs, when people offer you $1,000 or $5,000, refuse it. Our integrity is priceless, so don't accept donations from persons who offer it. Just say 'I do my work voluntary'."
Chuck described the JPs as the best of the best across Jamaica and implored them to set the right example for other citizens. Twenty-seven St Catherine JPs were recognised for between 25 and 46 years of service to their communities.
Donald Taffe and Luna Derica Bailey, two of the longest-serving JPs, were both given special awards at the banquet. Taffe, who was commissioned in 1977, has completed 46 years, while Bailey has served for 45 years.
Custos of St Catherine Icylin Golding, under whose patronage the banquet was held, lauded the awardees, describing them as what is right for Jamaica.
"When we launched the St Catherine Justices of the Peace Association, one of the first commitments was to recognise the icons who have served for years, and then to honour them in a special way," Golding said.