KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Lay Magistrates’ Association of Jamaica (LMAJ) has expressed its concern at the overwhelmingly high incidence of murders, homicides and overall acts of crime and violence that continue to plague the country.
In a meeting of the national executive body of the LMAJ over the weekend, the Association said it was particularly perturbed at the dastardly killing of a mother and her four children recently; the daily incidents of robberies, murders and other heinous crimes.
The LMAJ, in a statement on Monday, said it strongly condemns these kinds of happenings in the country and is urging every Justices of the Peace (JP) to become more actively and integrally involved in their respective communities.
“The very fabric of our society is being eroded at a rapid pace and as JPs we must aggressively address this in every way possible. We urge all JPs to be visible and reachable and to assist and participate in conflict resolution, mediation, restorative justice, counselling and other means of intervention. As a National Body we are concerned at the silence and non-participation of some Justices of the Peace in their own communities,” the Association stated.
The LMAJ said it is reminding its members that among their responsibilities, as set out in the charter, is “To encourage expressions of opinion by laymen, the bench and the bar, and to disseminate information concerning subjects having an important bearing upon the general welfare of the community, and especially upon society’s responsibility in the prevention and suppression of crime and the treatment of criminal offences; and to take action in the correction thereof as may from time to time be deemed expedient and appropriate.”
Noting that many JPs are trained in mediation and restorative justice, the LMAJ is urging citizens to seek help when faced with challenges and disagreements.