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Ragamuffins must run, Chuck tells 241 new JPs - Largest cohort ever commissioned at one sitting

Published:Thursday | November 9, 2017 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju
Some of the justices of the peace being sworn in.

Riddled as it is with corruption, Jamaica is teetering on the point of no return, with criminals calling the shots and law and order at risk of becoming a thing of the past, Delroy Chuck, minister of justice, lamented on Wednesday as he made an impassioned appeal for a return to decency.

"We cannot allow the dons, the gangsters, the gunmen, and the ragamuffins to take over Jamaica, and it's you, the decent individuals that offer yourselves, who must be proactive. Work with the police, work with the stakeholders of decency in your community - the teachers, the pastors - and make sure that the ragamuffins know their place and keep out of decent society. They must be put on the run," Chuck told the 241 justices of the peace commissioned into service at the Portmore Seventh-Day Adventist Church in St Catherine.

"We have many, many problems in this country. Jamaica needs help, and every single one of us must come to the aid of this country. One of the problems we have is that of corruption - corruption at all levels. It is eating away the fabric of virtually every institution; institutions you expect to be above board that when you use them, you get correct and decent services, documents, and valid certification.

"But right across Jamaica, the corrupt in our society have made life difficult for all Jamaicans and damaged the fabric of our society. Corruption must be dealt with, and I expect all of you to be informers about corruption. Wherever you see it, expose it," Chuck, who has authored two books on crime, appealed to the largest cohort of justices of the peace commissioned at one sitting.

Wanted: Persons of decency, honesty and integrity

Justice Minister Delroy Chuck has charged hundreds of new justices of the peace to become anti-corruption ambassadors and work with passion to steer the country back on to the right path.

"We need persons who stand up for decency, honesty, persons of integrity; persons with unblemished character to be in every crevice, every corner, every community, and every byway, every highway, every nook and cranny of Jamaica because one way or the other, we are going to recapture Jamaica and make it a peaceful place," he vowed.

Things are on track for the establishment, very soon, of a specialised organisation to investigate and prosecute corruption to the fullest. Comprising five commissioners, it will incorporate the roles of the Integrity Commission, the Corruption Commission, and the Office of the Contractor General, which, collectively, have not fully delivered on their mandate, according to Chuck.

"When this act comes into play, I would like this body to start afresh from what exists because with due respect, I'm not too sure that they achieved much in really rooting out corruption. What this body will do is not only have a director of investigation, but it will have a director of corruption and prosecution so that this body will now prosecute corruption cases," explained.