| “We have to get together and work to sort out the many problems that we face as an association. I am willing to work with the group to tackle crime on the island and to work hand in hand with the Police Department. Together as Justices of the Peace, we can make a difference.”|
- Claudio Azueta, President, San Pedro Chapter, JP Association.
The Justices of the Peace have a very important role within our community and our country. However through the years, their duties and the role they play has often been forgotten. In order to get all JP’s of the island n’sync, a Justice of the Peace Association meeting was held in order to re-establish a chapter of its branch here on the island. In order to re-establish the chapter, an executive needed to have been formed since for the past two years none has existed on the island. President of the JP Association on San Pedro Town lies in the capable hands of Claudio Azueta.
The Association is seriously concerned about the crime situation on the country of Belize as a whole. As such, working together with the Supreme Court, the Association is confident that JP can make a huge difference. However, it is understood that working hand in hand with the San Pedro Police Department is also essential.
In order for this to happen, training is huge since it will allow and enable JP to perform their duties in a professional way. During the meeting it was pointed out that political colors need to be placed to one side in order to be able to better assist individuals and various entities. It was stated, “In this association we try our best not to put politics in it, if you do we will not survive. Our motto is ‘To serve with the pen which is mightier than the sword’. And the only “P” that we serve is the people.”
A highlight of the meeting was the discussion of an amendment to the Justice of the Peace Bill which still awaits review and signature by the Attorney General. This amendment will change the way that JPs are appointed. By not signing this bill into law it is affecting the performance of this association. JP’s continue to be appointed politically and those J.P.’s are the ones who do not serve because they are just being rewarded and do not do the work.
The Association proposes to have JPs apply before being appointed. A Police record, two letters of recommendations, reasons as to why the individual wants to be a JP, stating any community service the individual has done, or any voluntary organizations he/she belong to, must all be presented when applying. This application is then vetted by the committee and if approved then it is sent to the Office of the Attorney General for final approval. But because this bill has not been signed this cannot be done and JPs continue to be appointed politically, according to the Association.
Further meetings will be held around the country for more consultations with all Justices of the Peace. For information about the meeting, kindly contact Danny Madrid at 610 2295 or 670 0007 or Rosie Reyes at 610 1737.