Tue | Sep 28, 2021

New Westmoreland JPs warned against selling services

Published:Wednesday | June 23, 2021 | 12:11 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Cassandra Nicole Beach-Davis, one of 37 newly commissioned justices of the peace, accepts her instrument of appointment from the Rev Hartley Perrin, custos of Westmoreland.
Cassandra Nicole Beach-Davis, one of 37 newly commissioned justices of the peace, accepts her instrument of appointment from the Rev Hartley Perrin, custos of Westmoreland.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Cognisant of claims that some justices of the peace (JPs) are illicitly charging the public, Westmoreland Custos the Reverend Hartley Perrin has reminded 37 newly installed officers that their services must be voluntary.

Perrin, who was speaking at the recent swearing-in ceremony for the latest cohort of JPs at the Sean Lavery Faith Hall in Savanna-la-Mar, said that he was aware that JPs in some parishes were breaching the law.

“Your commission is that of a servant to the people ... . Therefore, you should not have any rate sheets that determine charges for your services,” warned Perrin.

“Do not bring your honourable position into disrepute.”

News surfaced recently that JPs in sections of Jamaica have been charging people between $500 and $40,000 to certify documents and verify the identification of persons.

The custos also urged the new JPs to demonstrate strong leadership.

Perrin also encouraged the group to take advantage of additional training for service in lay magistrates’ courts, which will help to reduce the backlog of cases, as well as to participate in counselling, restorative justice, and child diversion initiatives.

“The demand for JPs is so great and we don’t want anyone to be overburdened,” the custos said.

“Therefore, we need to get more persons of goodwill, of decency, of integrity, of character, to become leaders in their communities.”

There are almost 700 active JPs across Westmoreland.