Custos Rotulorum for St. James, Hon. Ewen Corrodus, has said that Justices of the Peace (JPs) are needed to restore strength and unity to communities, and to reconstruct the moral fiber of the Jamaican society.
“It is no light matter that you have been chosen to serve your country in this capacity. You have been recommended and selected, based on your abilities, your integrity, your interest in community service and your willingness to serve humanity,” Custos Corrodus said.
He was addressing participants, including 34 new JPs for St. James, at the installation ceremony at the Wexford Hotel in Montego Bay, Wednesday (December 8).
Observing that the new JPs have been trained and empowered in the legal processes of the country, the Custos told them that they were equipped and ready to go, and it was now action time.
He said that the days when JPs only signed documents, when they can be found, and when the office was just a status symbol, or a measure of social standing, were gone.
“Jamaica needs you, this parish needs you, our legal system needs you and we all need you to make a difference in your communities, in this parish and in this nation,” the Custos said.
“We intend to intensify our actions, and to reclaim our children and our families from the negative influences that have eroded our values and weakened the fabric of family life and the human brotherhood,” he added.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Robert Rainford, told the JPs that they were ‘the face of justice in the country’.
“I believe that persons must be held accountable for their actions. We, therefore, need persons of high integrity, who will demonstrate this in every aspect of the country’s life. Balancing justice is about ensuring that the perpetrators are brought to book, given a fair trial and sentenced to serve time for the wrongs they committed,” he stated.
He said that balancing justice could only be achieved, when all the sectors of the justice system were operating at the optimum, with law enforcement, court administration and correctional service all intact.
“Each affects the other. Bad law enforcement leads to poor cases which cause crime to go unpunished. Poor court decisions cause mistrust in the system, which often lead to vigilante justice. In balancing justice, we must aim at having a justice system that is affordable, accessible and fair… balancing justice means not only that we have to look at the offenders, but also looking at the victims and at the community and the healing process,” he said.
The new JPs were presented with their instruments of office, which included their official certificates and seals.