Why the short­age of JPs?

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION&COMMENTARY -

TTHE EDITOR, Sir: HE CON­CERNS about jus­tices of the peace (JPs) have made their an­nual ap­pear­ance. Again, per­sons lament the short­age of JPs, and again they con­demn those who are charg­ing for their ser­vices and claim­ing to know strangers. There is now another ques­tion as to whether they should be paid.

Why is there a short­age of JPs? Is this an hon­our be­stowed on per­sons for ser­vices ren­dered, or is it an as­sign­ment for per­sons who would feel hon­oured to serve?

Most of the JPs I know live in ex­clu­sive ar­eas with large dogs be­hind tall gates. Apart from their do­mes­tic staff, their con­tact with or­di­nary Ja­maicans is lim­ited to when they at­tend an event at the sta­dium.

When I was a young­ster, a pop­u­lar lo­cal politi­cian vis­ited my mother’s of­fice and asked her to sign doc­u­ments. He ex­pressed shock and alarm when she said she was not a JP and promised to “cor­rect this mis­take right away”. “In the mean­time,” he ad­vised – sotto voce – that she “join the party right away”. Never a joiner, my poor mother went to her grave JP­less.

There are thou­sands of teach­ers, pas­tors, po­lice­men, nurses and so­cial work­ers – ac­tive and re­tired – who are able and will­ing to per­form this ser­vice. They know the peo­ple and the peo­ple know them. Their ba­sic train­ing and pro­fes­sional ex­pe­ri­ence en­able them to re­spond well to any ad­di­tional train­ing a JP re­ceives. I am not a bright per­son, so I refuse to be­lieve that this has not en­tered the minds of all those lu­mi­nar­ies we see in the news daily. Why is there a short­age of JPs?

LIM­IT­ING THE OPPURTUNITIES

De­mand­ing that cit­i­zens per­form a func­tion but lim­it­ing the op­por­tu­ni­ties so to do is what spawns cor­rup­tion. Can any­one imag­ine the chaos that would over­take this coun­try with­out cor­rup­tion?

My snoop­ing re­veals that it is these ‘com­mer­cial’ JPs who are pre­vent­ing a to­tal break­down of that sys­tem. They can be reached at any­time to do any­thing for any­one. This would not be the case if ev­ery­one knew two or three JPs. The work of any one JP would be so sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced, the ques­tion of salaries would be a non-is­sue.

Can we ask these bright sparks in lofty po­si­tions to ap­ply a lit­tle logic to these ‘prob­lems’ from time to time? GLENN TUCKER glen­ntucker2011@gmail.com Stony Hill, St An­drew

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