JP’s seal ‘not a toy’
Westmoreland custos cautions new justices of the peace
Lieutenant Colonel Hartley Perrin, custos of Westmoreland, has advised freshly commissioned justices of the peace (JPs) to be cautious while certifying real estate documents, wills, and financial transactions to avoid corruption.
“Be careful about matters that involve money, property, and wills,” Perrin said while speaking at the swearing-in and commissioning of 29 new JPs in the parish last Thursday during a ceremony held at the Sean Lavery Faith Hall in Savanna-la-Mar.
He noted that given the temptation for unscrupulous individuals to defraud others of their assets, the need for JPs to exercise extreme care is paramount when called on to certify documents and/or affix their seal.
“We have to be careful when they call you to say that they have a little thing, that their brother left them a piece of land, and all those kinds of stories they will tell, and hurrying you on to sign, claiming that they are not holding up your time,” Perrin cautioned.
“When you see them so caring about not wanting to hold up your time, be careful because there must be a reason why they love you so much,” the Jamaica Combined Cadet Force (JCCF) honorary lieutenant colonel said.
The latest cohort of carefully chosen JPs comes from a wide cross section of the parish and includes businessman Moses Chybar, president of the Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The group also included a number of educators such as Megan Berry, the principal of Savanna-la-Mar Primary School, and Jason Whittingham, the principal of Content Primary and Infant School.
Also among the group were members of the clergy, including Bishop Oneil Russell, and several members of the political directorate, including Dawnette Foster, Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) councillor for the Cornwall Mountain division; Cebert McFarlane, People’s National Party councillor for the Leamington division; and Rudolph Uter, JLP councillor for Frome.
DO NOT DROP GUARD
Perrin further reminded the new JPs, who have now joined the country’s justice system, not to drop their guard in the execution of their duties because of the status or their relationship with those seeking their services.
“Be careful to ensure that when a policeman brings you a document to sign, you ensure that the relevant things are written in the document even if it is a policeman as high as the senior superintendent of police,” Perrin said.
“Read carefully before you sign and seal,” he added, pointing out that in authorising documents with their seal, they are testifying that they are certain and approve of the information stated.
Perrin also encouraged the country’s JPs to develop a defence mechanism by saying no when in doubt, and at the same time, he charged them to uphold the principles of their office. He reminded them that having taken their oath, they are now duty-bound to say no to criminals and their unscrupulous behaviour.
He told them that it was a privileged position to be given the opportunity to serve their community and country in the capacity of a JP but warned that their seals are the property of the Government and that special care must be taken in handling them.
“Remember now that whatever you seal, you have sealed it. It is not a toy to be played with by anyone but an instrument that helps to validate a document,” Perrin said.