The event was organised by the Office of the Custos Rotulorum of Manchester, Lt. the Hon. Garfield Green, and the guest speaker was Chief Justice of Jamaica, the Hon. Justice Bryan Sykes. He charged the newly sworn in JPs not to be “missing in action” but to fulfil their duties to the public and the law, and to be advocates for technological change and advancements in the processes and execution of justice for all. In his remarks on behalf of the newly sworn-in JPs, Dr Peterkin told his peers: “It is not about you. It is not about me. It is about serving others.”
Justice Sykes, while acknowledging the challenges that currently exist in the Jamaican justice system and the situations JPs find themselves in, also challenged the JPs to keep up with technology in the execution of their tasks at their individual levels and to be fair, moral, trustworthy, dependable and efficient in all they do. He mentioned that because the Jamaican public is so accustomed to justice delayed or denied, the average culture is to “bypass the system” in an attempt to get justice and services easier, cheaper and quicker. He advocated for the use of integrated case management systems and the need for an application to assist JPs in their recording and other duties. The Chief Justice is of the view that with more digitization, not only will government services and justice be more accurate, authentic and efficient but the opportunities for corruption would be almost eliminated.
“It is not about you. It is not about me. It is about serving others.” JP Peterkin reminded his peers.
“We are duty bound to ensure that justice is not only done but that it appears to be done.” He added as he emphasised the need for timely, accurate and effective justice for all.
According to Justice Sykes, 2000 JPs are needed in the parish of Manchester and the goal of the Office of the Custos of Manchester is to commission 500 JPs this year. NCU continues to produce individuals of character that have qualified and been commissioned as justices of the peace. There are currently about 10 JPs who work at NCU. Several serve the university community, the Adventist church community and the wider public. Among their duties are to help in mediation and civic matters, attend court and authenticate documents issued supposingly by the government or any other legitimate source.