One family, five Justices of the Peace. Dwight Moore explains why they serveWednesday, October 20, 2021
It is perhaps unprecedented to have five members of one family serving as justices of the peace (JPs) at the same time.
But, it's perhaps even more unprecedented to have three members of the same family meeting the qualifications for, and being commissioned as JPs during the same commissioning ceremony.
This is the case of the Moore family.
Prominent St Andrew businessman, Dwight Moore, his sister Natalie Moore and his son Dominic were all commissioned as JPs on Thursday, October 14. They did not plan to undergo the training at the same time but delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic would see them being part of the same batch of more than 120 new JPs for the parish of St Andrew being trained and commissioned at the same time.
“The COVID scenario had apparently limited the ability of the organisers to hold processing of JPs,” Moore explained during an interview with OBSERVER ONLINE at his Chelsea Avenue offices in St Andrew.
As to why he and his family members got involved?
Moore pointed to the efforts of the government to increase the number of JPs to make them more readily accessible to members of the public and his family's history of service.
“My sister had gone and done her registration without my knowledge so I wasn't aware. It was when the announcement came for the training and I looked and I saw her name that I said 'wow, we're in this together,” said Moore.
He was aware that his son had applied and he explained that because of the pandemic, the process had slowed even further meaning that from the time of the application, selection and training, at least two-and-a-half years had passed.
“We had applied at different times but the processing took its own course in terms of the selections, the interviews and so on. So it ended up that we did some studying together and all that”.
Moore disclosed to OBSERVER ONLINE that two other members of his family are JPs, including his daughter, attorney-at-law Shari Moore and sister, Andrea Moore-Phillips, who is also an attorney.
When asked what it is about the Moore family and serving why there are now five JPs in the unit, the outspoken businessman said it was in their genes.
“A number of my family members including in-laws were full-time career civil servants. My mother, Bernice Rose Moore was a full-time educator who served the Ministry of Education and she was a national awardee for her contribution to education,” Moore explained.
He himself was presented with the Badge of Honour for Gallantry on National Heroes Day for his act of bravery in saving the life of a policeman under attack on August 19, 2020.
He noted that his mother, a graduate of Moneague Teachers College in St Ann where she hails from, rose to the point of acquiring a Phd.
“She went to university in the 1950s which was groundbreaking for a woman,” he noted.
His father, the late businessman Charles Alexander Moore who died two years ago was a pioneer in his own right.
“My father was a man dedicated to the service of the government of Jamaica in a private capacity in that he was a contractor for the Royal Mail Services and The Gleaner Company for which he did about 60 years of service”.
“It's been all about service,” Moore emphasised while also noting that his father was a stalwart in the Kiwanis Club. The senior Moore established one of the first transportation companies in Jamaica – Moore's Transport and he was also a member of the People's National Party and a close follower of Norman Manley.
“So it's a service thing, it's about nation building,” Moore reflected while going on to explain that his family home was a portal for up to 50 cousins who passed through on their way to North America and England where the Moore family has set down roots.
“My father being a self-employed entrepreneur would train a number of our family members in driving or mechanic skills or accounting etc.
“My mother, the educator would send them through to finish school in different areas so my house was that kind of thing where we grew up with a lot of cousins. People were passing through the house non-stop so service is what we do”.
“This is about being chosen as I don't think I have chosen some of the things that have fallen into my path,” said Moore.