JPs look to expand public service

| 14/04/2019
CNS Local Life
(L-R) Anthony Scott, Governor Martyn Roper, Elisabeth Roper and Kerry Nixon at the justices of the peace event

(CNS Local Life): At their recent annual general meeting, Cayman Islands justices of the peace (JPs) underscored the ongoing success of a free programme started by their association last year. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9am to 12 noon in the Government Administration Building (GAB) lobby, a JP is available to provide free services.

The JPs will certify signatures on official forms and papers, and authenticate true copies of documents such as immigration and land-transfer papers.

Association president Anthony Scott noted the usefulness of the programme at the AGM, after which he welcomed Governor Martyn Roper and his wife, Elisabeth, to a dinner event at the George Town Yacht Club, explaining some of the important work that association members routinely perform, stated a press release.

The work ranges from officiating at the destruction of narcotics and drugs by law enforcement officers to notarising documents. Members also serve the community, Scott said, particularly in various juvenile programmes run by the Department of Children and Family Services as well as assisting with the judicial system through the association.

Among future goals for the association are building on the programme at GAB as well as other services offered and to increase membership, he said, adding he has sought Judicial Administration to offer another training session for the association members at the earliest opportunity.

CNS Local Life
Anthony Scott presents award to Kerry Nixon (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Outgoing president Kerry Nixon, in her annual report, highlighted the “very valuable service” of the JPs who regularly volunteer at GAB, and praised association secretary Christine Wright, who provides services on an “as needed” basis.

“Your thoughtfulness and perseverance in making sure that the desk (is) manned each week is truly commendable and deeply appreciated,” Nixon said of Wright.

Guest speaker DCFS Director Paulinda Mendoza-Williams recalled the strong connection that continues between the JPs association and the department.

Tracing the history of justices of the peace which began more than 650 years ago in England, she highlighted the significant contributions of JPs in the Cayman Islands to the social development and care of children and families through the judiciary and the DCFS. Their services include addressing matters of child protection and juvenile criminal matters, she noted.

“Over the years, JPs have been instrumental in handing down judgements that prevented children from exposure to further abuse and neglect,” supporting recommendations from DCFS, Mendoza-Williams said. Under the Juvenile Law, DCFS seeks the assistance of JPs to sign warrants for matters that require removal of children in need of care and protection, she added.

She lauded JPs for making themselves available 24 hours and 365 days to ensure the Islands’ children are protected. “JPs have fought for our children to be educated, to have access to family, access to health care, to be safe and cared for, as well as advocating for secure facilities and suitable places of safety for those juveniles who require residential placements,” she said.

CNS Local Life
(L-R) The 2019 executive: councillor Debra Humphreys; secretary Christine Wright; immediate past president Kerry Nixon; president Anthony Scott; councillors Jenny Manderson and Paulette Conolly-Bailey; treasurer Georgette Myrie; and councillor Albert Anderson; (missing is councillor McCleary Frederick)

The director sought continued JPs’ support for DCFS services such as the Youth Diversion Programme which is geared to divert young people from the formal process of the youth justice system. The programme is aimed at reducing the number of first-time entrants to the justice system as well as provide programmes through promoting positive and pro-social behaviour to tackle the underlying causes of their offending behaviour.

Another initiative being discussed is the department partnering with JPs to assist with supervised access visits of children whose parents are engaged in contentious child custody battles. The DCFS-developed Elderly Service Team that focuses on the needs of Cayman’s seniors is yet another initiative where partnering is being considered through JPs giving their time and funding, if possible, she added.

The association also honoured veteran Cayman Compass journalist Carol Winker for her dedicated reporting about the JPs’ work and the association over decades.

Along with president Scott, the new JPs Association executive comprises vice president: Paulette Conolly-Bailey; immediate past president Nixon, secretary Wright, treasurer: Georgette Myrie; and councillors Jenny Manderson, Debra Humphreys, Albert Anderson and McCleary Frederick.

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