OCHO RIOS, St Ann — The cruel irony of 82-year-old Justice of the Peace (JP) Colin Corrodus’ violent death has shocked people in St Ann and created a climate of fear in the parish.
“Business people call me, JPs call me [and say] that they are afraid of what is happening because it could be anybody. Everybody is just frightened with what is taking place,” president of the St Ann Justices of the Peace Association Pixley Irons told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
Corrodus was reportedly shot in his upper body after four armed men invaded his home in Epworth, St Ann as he played dominoes with friends about 8:45 p.m. Monday.
Police report that the men demanded his firearm. He resisted and was shot.
Yesterday, the Observer learnt that his wife, who was also at the house during the invasion, was gun-butted. The blow left her unconscious. The other people were unharmed.
The St Ann police have since taken one man into custody in relation to the killing.
Yesterday, several people expressed shock at the murder of the man who for years operated a retail business in the district of Epworth.
“We are all saddened by the death of Justice Colin Corrodus, who was also a businessman, a long-time businessman of this community,” Irons said.
“We all regret his passing and the way he lost his life. We are calling on the powers that be to do something about these killings. We don’t know what the motive was as yet, [only] that his life was taken by criminals,” said Irons, who is also president of the St Ann Chamber of Commerce.
“This one has frightened everyone –– losing a stalwart like that,” Irons added as he expressed hope that things will return to normal soon.
Karl Fuller, senior justice of the peace for St Ann, was among those who remembered Corrodus for his hard work and dedication to the parish.
“From he was appointed he was a very active member of the association, one who attended meetings regularly and always actively participated in meetings,” Fuller said.
“He was approachable; he was indeed an excellent justice of the peace, one who the younger justices of the peace can emulate. It is a great loss. It is a loss to the St Ann Justices of the Peace Association,” he added.
Fuller also called on Jamaicans to unite in the fight against crime.
“Crime must never be used as a political football. If we are going to solve crime in Jamaica, then it is going to be done involving everybody – the political parties, the churches, the community. I think a starting point is to get all the stakeholders together and find out how we are going to deal with this monster, crime. We have to start now,” he said.
Yesterday, Justice Minister Delroy Chuck also reacted to Corrodus’s murder, saying it was yet another stark reminder of the urgency that confronts the people and Government of Jamaica to urgently and relentlessly address the twin evil of crime and violence in the country.
“His tragic death must confirm in our minds the singular threat that is faced by every Jamaican, which is not just impeding the economic growth and the development of the country, but is also creating a blanket of fear and insecurity in our communities, places of business, and in our homes,” Chuck said in a statement.
He said that Corrodus served St Ann with great distinction and pointed out that his brother Ewen is the custos of St James.
“Even as we mourn his and other tragic deaths across Jamaica, there must be a collective will to change the course and to move the country towards peace, security and justice,” Chuck said.
“In this moment of darkness, our determination must be the light, and in this time of grief, it is our resolve that must give us hope, and in the depth of today’s loss we must find optimism to lead our country to a better tomorrow,” Chuck added.
He said he was even more determined to accelerate the pace of justice reform, which he firmly believes “is one of the most important successes that the country must have to reverse the rampant criminality in our midst”.
He also extended his sincere condolence to Corrodus’s loved ones, friends, and the wider members of the JP fraternity.
Opposition spokesman on justice and governance Senator Mark Golding also expressed shock and sadness at the JP’s brutal murder.
“Justices of the peace,” he said, “play a critical role in Jamaica’s justice system. The services they provide the public include the authentication of important documents, monitoring conditions in lock-ups across the country, and adjudicating cases in the Petty Sessions Courts. The slaying of Mr Corrodus at his home is therefore a particularly heinous attack on the rule of law in our country, and an ominous beginning for the new year.”
He extended condolence to Mrs Corrodus, the other members of his family, and friends.
“He served his country nobly and well, and all well-thinking Jamaicans share your grief at this difficult time,” Golding said in his message to the family.
He also said that violent crime “has been allowed to get out of control and is now threatening to set back the hard-won gains of the last four years”.