Justices of the Peace (JPs) will have a significant role to play as Barbados continues to rebuild its communities.
Both Prime Minister Mia Mottley and Attorney General Dale Marshall reminded them of this fact as an unprecedented 282 men and women of all ages and backgrounds hailing from communities all over Barbados took their oaths of office at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre this evening.
Prime Minister Mottley described the position of Justice of the Peace as “a noble tradition, where people who are held in high esteem by their peers within their communities have a role to play in maintaining law and social stability.”
She noted that the selection process was an arduous one, and some of their responsibilities
included signing search warrants, signing of documents and photographs for those applying for passports or citizenship, among other things.
The Prime Minister also said: “Peace, stability and prosperity begins in the community, so we must look at strengthening the institutions that help to build this. Our legal framework was premised on an adversarial basis, wherein we look for victory from the party that best articulates their case, but JPs can help us as we look towards alternative dispute resolution methods on the community level.”
Attorney General Dale Marshall said there was no statute governing the appointment of JPs, but it was done by “exercising royal prerogative”, and he reminded them that they were not expected to charge money for the services they provide to the people they serve. He urged them: “You have to become the centrepiece of your community and we urge you to join us as we rebuild this country.”
Justices of the Peace were first appointed in England in the eleventh century, where they were described as “Men appointed to guard the peace of the King”, and they have served in many different judicial capacities over the centuries.