Some citizens across Jamaica have redefined the term JP, which stands for justice of the peace, to mean “just profiling”, due to their failure to carry out their duties in assisting the wider populace.
The disclosure was made by Justice Minister Delroy Chuck, who has called on those duly appointed as JPs to make themselves available to the public, as he has received several complaints that they are missing in action.
“The country, across all communities, are always saying that they don’t have JP services, and we know that there are sufficient JPs across Jamaica, but regrettably, far too many JPs are not making themselves available,” said Chuck.
In noting that the majority of the JPs are doing exceptional jobs, the minister said there are some JPs who are not abiding by their oaths and are charging for their services, as well as using their titles as “status symbols”.
“Far too many persons have been telling me that this term that people in communities put behind their names – JP – it mean ‘just profiling’,” indicated the minister.
He was speaking at the launch of the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services public education campaign at the Justice Ministry on Friday.
“JPs must now reach out and assist their fellow citizens… I don’t want the term JP, as some people have complained, to… mean ‘just profiling’,” stated Chuck.
According to him, a recent audit revealed that the ministry has been unable to get the contact numbers of 40 per cent of the country’s JPs.
In light of that finding, Chuck urged those persons to urgently contact the ministry and send in their annual reports that are required under the 2018 Justice of the Peace Act.
“We want them to report, because we want to give all JPs an email address so that the citizens can contact them, and we at the Ministry of Justice can keep in close contact also with them,” he informed.
Over 5,000 JPs have submitted their annual reports, and shortly they are to be presented with new seals which state, ‘Justice of the Peace of Jamaica’, according to Chuck.
In commenting on the use of ADR methods, the minister said it will be a useful tool in resolving conflicts and other disputes, as “the courts are overburdened” with both criminal and civil cases.
“The courts are clogged with cases, which could be dealt with by ADR. That, therefore, is the mission of the Ministry of Justice, to assist the courts in not only reducing the backlog, but having more cases dealt with in the community or by ADR, and therefore, having only the real serious cases dealt with by the courts,” he explained.
“What we at the ministry intend to the do is to take ADR across the schools, the churches, communities, and in doing so, we want to sensitise citizens of this country that where they see disputes or have disputes, refer the matters to ADR,” stated Chuck.
Additionally, he said JPs are to form part of the process of encouraging citizens to use ADR as a means of resolving their disputes.