St Catherine honours 27 justices of the peace
Twenty-seven justices of the peace from across the parish of St Catherine were recognised for 25 to 46 years in service to their communities.
David Taffe and Luna Derica Bailey, two of the longest-serving justices of the peace in the parish, were both given special awards at the inaugural banquet which was held on Saturday night at the Caymanas Golf Club in St Catherine.
Taffe, who was commissioned in 1977, has completed 46 years, and Bailey, 45 years. She was commissioned in 1978. Custos of the parish and patron of the event, Icylin Golding, lauded the awardees, describing them as ‘what is right for Jamaica’.
“When we launched the St Catherine Justices of the Peace Association, one of the first commitments was to recognise the icons who have served for years and then to honour them in a special way,” Golding said.
But, even as he applauded the work and service of the JPs islandwide, Justice Minister Delroy Chuck, in his address, lamented the situation of some who he says have been throwing the vocation into public infamy.
VOCATION IN DISREPUTE
“We recognise the outstanding work done by JPs. Regrettably, there are a few who bring the vocation into disrepute and, sadly, in St Catherine, there are quite a few. And this is why this association must bond together fully,” Chuck told members of the 1,600-strong St Catherine Justices of the Peace Association.
He said there may be less than a dozen JPs in St Catherine who are bringing the role of the JPs into disrepute by charging for their services to the public.
“It is important that you bring them to the attention of the custos and, after the appropriate disciplinary action is taken, they can be decommissioned,” Chuck said.
He revealed that the previous custos, during his tenure, had identified a few and they were dealt with. He expressed the hope that the association sees it as one of its important functions to remove those who seek to cause the outstanding vocation to be held in low esteem.
“It is inappropriate for JPs to put up signs saying ‘the office of the JP’. I see it when I go across Jamaica. It is not a profession, it is a voluntary service,” the justice minister asserted.
He continued: “And, as I said to many JPs, when people offer you a $1,000 or $5,000, refuse it. Our integrity is priceless, so don’t accept donations from persons who offer it. Just say ‘I do my work voluntary’.”
The justice minister described the JPs as the best of the best across Jamaica, and implored them to set the right example for other citizens.