Fri | Dec 2, 2022

Can't dual citizens be JPs?

Published:Thursday | August 31, 2017 | 12:00 AM


Responding to Justice Minister Delroy Chuck's call for more justices of the peace (JPs) in January, I submitted my application in February. In July, not having heard anything further about the status of the application, I started writing and calling.

Eventually, in mid-August, I was notified of the interview date, which was August 30, six full months after applying. While waiting for my interview, which started 30 minutes late, I spoke with other applicants who all had the same experience of delays and lack of communication.

Well, my interview was with Parish Judge Judith Pusey. I started off by complaining about the long delay, etc., and her response was very unhelpful. Essentially, they are very busy and they have many applicants with whom to deal.

She proceeded to advise me that I was not qualified, as my form of identification was a US passport. I pointed out to her that the passport was only a form of identity that was certified by another JP. I also pointed that the document showed proof of birth as Jamaica, and, therefore, I am, in fact, Jamaican and American.

The story ends with the application be denied on the basis of me having dual nationality!

I took the time to read the rules governing appointment of JPs, and it clearly states that the appointee must be a Jamaican citizen. There is no mention of prohibiting persons who have dual nationality.

So, this is further evidence of our problems: bureaucracy and lack of knowledge on the rules of law.