Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley believes Justices of the Peace (JPs) have a role to play in the preservation of the peace and social stability in their communities.
Ms. Mottley expressed this view last evening as she delivered remarks at the Swearing-in Ceremony of 282 Justices of the Peace, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, St. Michael.
She told her audience: “I hope that this Government can work with the…Attorney General to create the opportunities for you…not just those who have been sworn in today, but all who belong to the class of Justices of the Peace, to play a deeper and clearer role in the maintenance of peace, in the resolution of conflict and in the building of the social capital of our communities. Too often, much of what we hear and much of what we see is as a result of people not being able to resolve conflict easily and effectively….
“The policy departures that we are hoping to bring over the course of the rest of this Government’s life, the next few years, hopefully will see additional responsibilities being added to you and seeing you being able to help us play the role that is so pivotal at the level of the communities to keep Barbados safe…strong…peaceful and prosperous.”
Strengthening the community, the Prime Minister stated, was important and she opined that the decentralization of various areas was absolutely critical.
“There are those who, for example, have posited that we should bring all of the Magistrates’ Courts and all of the courts into one central location in town because it would be cheaper. My view is significantly different… Peace and stability and prosperity are kept in communities first and foremost before they are kept nationally,” she contended.
Ms. Mottley stressed that Government was intending to break new ground in many areas of the administration of justice and in the building of social capital in this country.
Therefore, she added, Government did not come to the conclusion lightly about creating the Barbados YouthAdvance Corps, or spending money on the law courts.
“We have not come to the conclusion lightly about so many of you stretching across the entire island being given an opportunity to serve and to help us lift the weight that is necessary to keep this society stable…,” she told the JPs.
Acting Governor General Sir Kenneth Hewitt said JPs were well known and respected persons in the community and urged the group to never underestimate the importance of their responsibilities, which ranged from administering oaths to helping to maintain law and order.
“I know you will discharge your obligations with the requisite compassion, diligence, competence and fairness. In this leadership role, you will be expected to play an important part in taking our beloved island to the top, where it belongs,” Sir Kenneth added, as he congratulated them.
Attorney General Dale Marshall told the new JPs that they had been chosen with great care, as he pointed out that office was bestowed on few individuals.
He continued: “I ask that you join with us at a difficult time in Barbados’ history where we need, for our very survival, to rebuild our communities. But we could only rebuild strong communities with individuals like yourself being the centrepiece around which those communities can grow and flourish once more.”
Mr. Marshall also congratulated the JPs and proffered the view that they would serve their communities and Barbados to the highest standard.