|Of the over 100 JP’s in San Pedro, only 27 showed up.
Last Saturday and Sunday, April 19th and 20th, Justices of the Peace (JP) and Commissioners of the Supreme Court from various part of the country convened in San Pedro Town for the first quarterly meeting of JP’s and Commissioners of the Supreme Court of Belize for the year 2008. Adrian Danny Madrid, the National President of the JP Association and Commissioners of the Supreme Court told The San Pedro Sun that one of the main reasons for the meeting in San Pedro was to reestablish the San Pedro JP Chapter. “For the past two years the San Pedro Chapter has been dormant and nothing has been happening. It is the only chapter from the nine that exist that is not working. Of the almost one hundred JPs that we have in San Pedro, only 27 showed up.”
Madrid added that while they couldn’t elect a new executive for the San Pedro Chapter, an ad-hoc committee was elected to organize various seminars for the San Pedro Chapter. The ad-hoc committee consists of Iraida Gonzalez, Eiden Salazar Jr, Milo Paz and Pedro Salazar Sr.
Madrid said that during their visit they also conducted training for the JPs in attendance. While the training for the San Pedro JPs was on Saturday, on Sunday, over 50 JPs from different parts of the country gathered at the Lions Den for the quarterly meeting. Madrid commented to The Sun that police brutality was among the many issues that were raised. “One of the important things that came out of the meeting was the concern of the police abuse on the citizens. We discussed that we must work with police but we are referred to as the guardian angel of the people and we must be there for the people.”
But police brutality was not the only center of discussion, the process of appointments of JPs was also a subject that was taken with grave concern by those present. Madrid explained the appointment process stating, “It’s a concern because the various Area Representatives send a JP prospective list to the Attorney General who approves it. We don’t say we don’t want them to do it, but what we are asking is that the laws have changed; the process now is that the individual must apply to be a Justice of the Peace and you must apply through an executive. You need to give that executive a police record, two letters of recommendation and the reasons why you, the applicant, would want to become JP. There will be many training sessions that the applicant must attend which is followed by a vetting process. Approval is then granted to those who qualify. As is we cannot approve, only the attorney general can approve JPs.”
Madrid ended his interview with The Sun by encouraging JPs and Commissioners of the Supreme Court in San Pedro to get involved in the meetings and participate in the election of a new executive.