Role of JPs to be strengthened
As part of the ongoing justice-reform initiatives as well as the changing demands of the communities within which justices of the peace (JPs) serve, Cabinet has given approval for the enactment of legislation to strengthen their role.
This was noted by Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck when he delivered the keynote address at the commissioning of 38 new JPs at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville, Manchester, on Friday.
Chuck pointed out that the minimum age limit for entry into the service of a JP has been lowered from 25 to 23, and the upper limit has been totally removed from 70, as long as persons are still energetic, strong and capable of doing the job effectively.
The minister further outlined some of the proposed changes to the revised act.
"One of the duties that we intend to impose on all JPs is that at the end of every year, he or she must send in a one-page report," he said.
"It should include your email address, telephone number, whether you are still in the island and any concerns, plus your activities for the year."
The proposed act will be laid in the House of Representatives on October 10, and it will be sent to each custos and be uploaded to the ministry's website.
Chuck also called on JPs to review the changes, make recommendations where they see fit, and help to create the laws by which they are governed.
"All JPs will now be JPs of Jamaica. However, depending on where you live or work, you can use that address to say in which parish you pay allegiance and to which custos. For example, if you live in Clarendon and work in Manchester, but want to pay allegiance to the custos in Manchester, you would give your business address, but if you want to give allegiance to the custos of Clarendon, you would give your home address," the minister explained.
For JPs who serve as lay magistrates, they must live in the parish where they serve, in accordance with the Judicature Act. Petty Sessions Court will now become Lay Magistrates' Court in the revised act.