More JPs needed in Manchester — Custos Green
Three Justices of the Peace (seated from right) and Corporal Astill Anderson display their awards. Justice Minister Delroy Chuck (standing third right), and custos of Manchester Garfield Green (standing second left) are among leaders posing for a photo with the awardees at the inaugural Manchester Justices of the Peace Association awards banquet in Mandeville recently. (Photo: Kasey Williams)

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Custos of Manchester Garfield Green says this south-central parish needs 2,000 justices of the peace (JPs) to adequately serve citizens, even as he has set a target to bolster the Manchester Justices of the Peace Association to 500 JPs by year end.

Speaking at the association's inaugural banquet and awards ceremony at Church Teachers' College in Mandeville recently, Green encouraged JPs to serve with pride and respect.

"We currently have 424 commissioned JPs…Manchester based on its population must have 2,000 serving JPs at any given time. That is one JP to every hundred citizens in the parish, so I am asking the bright [and] committed persons, who want to serve to please put in your application," he said.

Green pointed out that an ethics committee was coordinated to vet complaints against JPs.

"We have 10 JPs who were brought before the ethics committee and we had two JPs who were removed from office. Many out there need the services from JPs and we must serve them with pride and respect," added Green.

The custos said he is concerned about the complaints being made against JPs.

"We must always consider the impact of our actions, especially for those of us who took the oath to serve in the office of Justice of the Peace…the way we respond to people; the way we carry ourselves. I get reports from the court about persons who go to sit as Lay Magistrates and the way they are dressed to attend court was bad," stressed Green.

"A man pulls on a blazer with jeans and crocs and socks and is going to serve as a Lay Magistrate in court. Now, we have to take our responsibilities seriously and not because we have some authority that does not make us or give us the authority to look down on people sitting on the other side of us. We must respect people at all times regardless of the situation they are in, we must show respect to them," added Green.

He highlighted the exemplary work of JPs whom he said "have been identified as honourary Justices of the Peace based on their work in their communities and based on how they have presented themselves".

Reverend Joan Smith, who was among the awardees at the ceremony, was inducted into the Manchester Justice of the Peace Association's Hall of Fame.

Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck lauded the association and JPs for their volunteerism.

"It is quite clear that this JP association is well organised and that you are really exemplifying everything that I conceive that it should be and we hope that it will be a trendsetter for other parish associations," he said.

"I expect this JP association to not only be the body to which all JPs in the parish will belong, but on an annual basis you have something like this where you reward the volunteers for the work that they do in their communities," added Chuck.

He said "the parish association must be the body that is the voice and the beacon of not only the JP association, but of civil society and everything that is good in Manchester".

"Justices of the Peace, you must do what your name says, you do justice and you assist in bringing peace in your community, so it is very important that you work closely with the police [and] community," he said.

"The Ministry of Justice will assist you in ensuring that the Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms are available in every nook and cranny of the parish," added Chuck.

Custos of Manchester Garfield Green (Photo: Kasey Williams)
Kasey Williams

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