PORT MARIA, St Mary – Thirty-nine new justices of the peace (JPs) have been appointed to serve the parish of St Mary.
The 18 females and 21 males received their seals and commissions during a recent swearing-in ceremony in Port Maria which was presided over by St Mary’s Custos Alaric Pottinger.
Addressing the swearing-in exercise at the Port Maria Anglican Church Hall, Pottinger challenged the new JPs to always uphold the integrity of the high office to which they have been called to serve.
The custos said the JPs were selected because of their good character and leadership skills in the different communities and encouraged them to continue serving the people with integrity.
“Don’t let your political commitment or affiliation hamper your work as a good justice of the peace,” Pottinger said, adding that in his 18 years as Custos, no JP had ever been brought to him for misconduct.
He warned the group against corruption and tarnishing the good record in the parish.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Mark Golding in his address said his ministry was looking at providing a greater role for JPs in the justice system which is being reformed.
Senator Golding explained that in their new role JPs could be called on to handle more small-claims cases as well as other small cases which include some traffic offences and ganja-related cases.
The senator said he was also pleased that the JPs had responded to the call to serve their community, pointing out that service toward others in today’s society, without financial gains, has become a scare commodity.
He said with the current economic situation, people will be called on to perform more duties for less and JPs had a critical role to play if the country was to achieve meaningful and sustained growth.
“I call upon you to be ambassadors for civil duties and to champion the restoration of verbal kindness that is lacking in our society,” Golding said.
He added further, "Any service to the cause of justice is honourable, at any level of the system, and you must always acquit yourself with the highest ethical integrity and play your important role in turning back the tide of corruption and unlawfulness that has swept our island.”
The justice minister said with the emergence of cybercrime and scamming, JPs can be instrumental in helping to stem this scourge by ensuring the authenticity of documents before affixing their signature or seal to them.
Meanwhile newly installed JP Nellie Harris, in responding on behalf of her colleagues, pledged that the group would at all times be steadfast in their duties. She said they all understood well what was expected of them and she assured that their actions would not be called into question.
Harris said the JPs recognised that the position in which they have been called to serve was an honourable one and they would serve with dignity and honesty as they seek to build a better parish and country.