Portland JPs urged to join fight against disorder in Jamaica
President of the Lay Magistrates Association of Jamaica Trevor Heaven addressing the annual general meeting of the Lay Magistrate Association, Portland Chapter last week. (Photo: Everard Owen)

PORT Antonio, Portland — President of the Lay Magistrates Association of Jamaica Trevor Heaven has warned that the crime level in Jamaica has left the island's law enforcement systems under threat, and has urged fellow justices of the peace (JPs) to join the fight to save the country.

Addressing last week's annual general meeting of the Lay Magistrates Association, Portland Chapter, Heaven nudged the JPs to play their part in helping to create a safer Jamaica.

"Crime and violence is out of control. There is turmoil on our roads, there is indiscipline on the roads; road rage reigns unbridled. We see sexual immorality, it is commonplace. There is drugs, and there are gangs and violence in our schools.

"Law enforcement is under threat, there is no respect for our police. Corruption [is] at the highest level. [The] ways to reduce crime and violence is a major concern to us as responsible leaders in communities and in our country. We cannot stand idly by and let it grow," insisted Heaven

"What do we do about it? The proposal I am about to dictate to our executive — and I would like for the Portland chapter to endorse it — my thought is an intervention. I think we have lost the present generation and so we really have to start with the babies and show the values, ethics, and morality at the teacher training schools.

"This needs to start at a high level so that we do not continue at this high level of degradation of the moral standard in our country, so it is important that we start.

"It is my intention to speak to Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck and Minister of Education Minister Fayval Williams to see whether we can, through our zones in our parishes and chapters, embrace and adopt a school where one or two of our justices can actually go into our schools at their devotional exercise and speak to our children and [help them] build a level of respect for themselves.

"That is really what I'd like to see happen. I believe that if we start there we have the chance of saving even one life — one life is more than none," added Heaven at the ceremony where the Portland Chapter of the Lay Magistrates Association of Jamaica awarded people for their work in the parish.

Among the awardees was Martin Blackwood who received the Business Personality Award; Ariel Wright who was the student awardee; and Dr Maureen Campbell who received the award for work in education.

Everard Owen

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