Tue | Jul 7, 2020

JPs unhappy with Chuck’s ‘one umbrella’ order

Published:Wednesday | June 3, 2020 | 12:10 AMBryan Miller/Gleaner Writer


The recent letter from Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck to president of the Lay Magistrates’ Association of Jamaica (LMAJ), Dr Lynden Rose, calling for justices of the peace (JPs) in each parish to operate under one umbrella, has not found favour in some quarters.

In his letter, under the topic, ‘The establishment of one association for justices of the peace in each parish’, Chuck said he wants to see an end to the existing situation. However, members of the affected organisations are not happy with Chuck’s position and are seeking a meeting to address the matter.

The Gleaner has learned that at a virtual meeting of the LMAJ on Sunday, there was widespread disagreement with the content of Chuck’s letter and a decision was taken to express their concerns to him in writing.

Chuck’s letter, which was copied to Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, all custodes and presidents of the LMAJ parish chapters, had instructed that a way should be found to have just one body representing justices of the peace in the various parishes across the island. The letter stated that the decision was arrived at during a ministerial meeting with the custodes on February 14.

The letter also stated that the following decisions were taken at the meeting with the custodes:

• There should be one association in each parish for all justices of the peace headed by the custos.

• The executive members of the association are to be elected. This would include traditional positions held, such as chairman, treasurer, secretary, etc. The elections should be for specific tenures.

• The association would, therefore, consist of the executive members and such other governing bodies as the association sees fit.

• All justices of the peace should be members of the association. However, voting rights may only be applicable to members who have paid their membership dues.

Chuck stated that the decision taken had his full support, hence his instructions that the decision should be adopted and practised in all parishes.

The Gleaner has learned that there are parishes that have two active organisations, a chapter of the LMAJ, and a parish organisation of justices of the peace, both claiming to be representative of justices of the peace in those parishes.

According to reports, at the LMAJ meeting on Saturday, the main concern surrounded the first bullet in the letter – there should be one association in each parish for all justices of the peace headed by the custos, which they strongly objected to.

The Gleaner was told that a decision was taken at the LMAJ meeting to write to Chuck outlining the objections, while seeking clarification on other matters.