Date: Thursday, October 10, 2019

Custos of Kingston Steadman Fuller says, in their bid to increase the numbers of Justices of the Peace across the country, the authorities must make every effort to ensure that those recruited are persons of the highest integrity. He made the comment while addressing the Lay Magistrates’ Association of Jamaica (LMAJ) Annual Awards Banquet where several Justices of the Peace and corporate companies were awarded for outstanding services as Justices of the Peace/Lay Magistrates and contribution to the LMAJ. "While in these days it is increasingly difficult to find 'good and lawful ' men and women, persons of unquestionable integrity to serve as Justices of the Peace and Lay Magistrates, that search must continue diligently, in earnest and in strict adherence to the set standards we have grown to be accustomed to. Let us not be too eager to water-down the requirements just to achieve numbers," Custos Fuller told his gathering. He said we must maintain the high standards governing the selection of individuals and not seek to lower the bar or for reason of expediency and otherwise appoint whomever will, to serve as a Justice of the Peace.

Custos Fuller said if that is done, it will not help the cause of a harmonious society if those we appoint to serve are appointed based on a lower standard and a tweaking. "If a harmonious society is what we seek, we must raise the bar, not to lower it ", Custos Fuller stated The Justices of the Peace/Lay Magistrate is that vital link to the fostering of a harmonious society and therefore it is important that the people with the right attitude are appointed to the noble office, he said. "The harmonious society we seek must embrace what is just and fair, it must embrace open competition for it is in competition that we best allocate and optimize the distribution of resources, increase production and raise the overall national output and in that the role of Justice of the Peace/Lay Magistrate is very important," Custos Fuller stated.

He added: "The harmonious society created through the energies of the Justices of the Peace/Lay Magistrates will advocate coordinated, sustainable and participatory development which balances the interest of the different sectors and groups while providing for the improvements in the moral fibre, education, the flourishing of ideas and the realizing of the people's potential." He said this can only be achieved if there is gradual improvements within the legal and justice system. Custos Fuller had high praises for the awardees for their outstanding contributions to their parish and county. JPs Calvin Brown, Micheal Morris and Cosmo Jowhill were presented with the Golden Scale Award for their contribution to the counties of Cornwall, Middlesex and Surrey respectively. Thirteen other Justices of the Peace were awarded for their contribution to their parishes and three companies and one individual were awarded for their continued contribution to the Lay Magistrates’ Association of Jamaica.