KINGSTON, Jamaica, Aug.30, 2021 - Justice Minister Delroy Chuck, says his Ministry is seeking to strengthen the work of Lay Magistrates in the parishes by having additional simple matters shifted from the Parish Courts to the Lay Magistrates’ Court.
Addressing the Lay Magistrates’ Association of Jamaica’s (LMAJ) Annual Golden Scale Awards in an on-line Presentation on Saturday August 28, Minister Chuck said the Ministry of Justice was very keen to have more matters being dealt in the Lay Magistrates’ Courts and indicated that arrangements would be made to facilitate this following discussion with Chief Justice Bryan Sykes.
The Justice Minister said through his Ministry, he would work with the Lay Magistrates’ Association to strengthen its service delivery.
“I want to assure you that…we can work together to strengthen the Lay Magistrates’ Association in each of the parishes…so that it can function even more effectively in delivering services to the people of Jamaica,” he said.
Mr. Chuck added that he will work to not only strengthen the work of existing Lay Magistrates “but to invite as many others to participate and to become Lay Magistrates in each of the parishes”.
The Minister said another area he would like to work on is the establishment of offices for Lay Magistrates in the Restorative Justice Centres across the country.
“I believe it is something that is useful, (as) in the justice centres, the restorative justice personnel will have an office, the child diversion officer will have an office, and victim services will have one, (and) it is my hope that the Lay Magistrates in each of the justice centres should also have an office from which you can work,” he said.
Justice centres, which have been established in every parish, are equipped to handle matters related to child diversion and restorative justice, as well as dispute resolution, among other justice-related issues. They also serve as a point of contact for custodes and JPs.
In the meantime, Mr. Chuck encouraged Lay Magistrates to offer their service “to be the guardians of JPs in the parishes” particularly those who are newly commissioned.
“I want to urge as many of you as possible to offer yourselves…to serve not only on the disciplinary committee but on the advisory committee in choosing new JPs in the parishes,” he said.
A Lay Magistrate is a Justice of the Peace (JP) trained in criminal law and procedure, who act as judgein a court of law that deals with crimes that are less serious.
During the event, which was broadcast from the Caymanas Golf and Country Club, in St. Catherine, with mainly online participants, three Golden Scale Awardees – Howard Deers, Rev. Florizel Allen and Michael Reid were recognised along with 11 other parish awardees.
Through the Annual Golden Scale Awards Presentation, the LMAJ recognises outstanding JPs island wide, who go the extra mile to provide voluntary exemplary service and leadership to their communities.
LISTING OF LMAJ COUNTRY AND PARISH AWARDEES 2021
CORNWALL Howard Deers (St James)
St. James Suzette Ramdaanie-Linton
Hanover Donovan Hamilton
St. Elizabeth Clarence miller
Trelwany Devon Brown
MIDDLESEX Rev. Florizel Allen (St. Catherine)
St. Catherine Dolsie Rosealee Townsend
St. Mary Humphery Taylor
Clarendon Sylveta Acott
Manchester Karlene Thompson
SURREY Micheal Reid (Kingston)
Kingston Marva Pringle Ziminnies
St Thomas Hycinth Bent
Portland Garry Wlson