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December 13, 2013
Star News


JPs not to be paid for services
Christopher Serju, Star Writer

Marigold Harding

Justices of the peace (JP) should not charge money or accept any other kind of reward for any work done in that capacity.

Custos of St Andrew, Marigold Harding was emphatic in laying down the law Saturday night.

"I've have several reports about JPs who are charging for their services. Of course you know that's not to be done!

"When you're commissioned a JP, you have a code of conduct that you follow, and when you offer yourself to become a JP, you're really offering yourself to give service to your fellow Jamaicans and you are not to charge. You should not accept offers for your service and that is very, very important," she told THE WEEKEND STAR after the annual awards dinner of the St Andrew Justices of the Peace and Lay Magistrates' Association.

In her remarks earlier during the function held at the Terra Nova Hotel in St Andrew, Custos Harding had lamented that some of the reports about JPs accepting money and gifts were in fact true and, where proven to be so, disciplinary action is taken.

She explained: "We now have a code of conduct which we are very, very strict about adhering to, and we have disciplinary committees and I do not fail to recommend decommissions for JPs who behave inappropriately and against the code of conduct."

Since 2006, justices of the peace have undergone mandatory training before being commissioned and so there should be no ambiguity about their role or the status of their office.

However, JPs who were commissioned before then were not trained, Custos Harding explained.

"Over the years, the older JPs were never trained, but encouraged those who weren't trained before to come and have the training, because they were literally thrown into the deep end."

"Over the years, the older JPs were never trained; we now have mandatory training before they are commissioned and this has taken place since 2006."

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