Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, says construction of a new courthouse for Mandeville, Manchester, should begin in the next fiscal year.
Addressing the swearing-in ceremony for 35 new Justices of the Peace (JPs) for Manchester at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville on February 1, the Minister said at least six regional court complexes are needed over the next three to five years, and that at least three are to begin in this fiscal year, “but at the very minimum, we must have two, one of which must be in Manchester.”.
Mr. Chuck said that when the Health and Safety Act is implemented in the next few months, the Mandeville courthouse building could be declared a disaster and could be locked down, and he might have to beg for time to complete the new courthouse.
“The difficulty is that we have 40 acres on which it could be built, but the land is too far away in Hatfield and everyone wants it in Mandeville, where there is no place to put it. I will be speaking to all the stakeholders and residents of Manchester, so that if Hatfield is not the right place, then they will have to find me a place in Mandeville where we can start building in early 2020 or the end of this calendar year,” he said.
The Minister commended the new JPs and encouraged them to strive to make Manchester the best and let the parish shine.
“A lot will depend on you to make Jamaica a better place. We want to create a good society, but we cannot have a good society of bad people. You are good people, who would not have been selected if you were not persons of good character. Character is everything, if you have it, you don’t care what other people say. That is expected of all of you. You must know that when you are not being watched, you know you are doing right,” he said.
Mr. Chuck also told the new JPs to stand up for what is right, good and just and be persons of substance to whom young people could look for mentorship.
Meanwhile, outgoing Custos, Hon. Sally Porteous, told the audience that it was her final commissioning ceremony in the role as Custos of Manchester, as she would be retiring as soon as a new one had been selected by the Governor-General.
“As you embark on your new career, people will look at you differently. They will expect things of you today that they did not expect yesterday. They will try to make you do things and sign papers that are not correct, so I beg you to be strong and vigilant,” she cautioned.
The Custos told the JPs to be mindful of their behaviour and comportment, as people would be watching to see how they conduct themselves, treat others, respect law and order and conduct their affairs.
“Remember that you were selected because we believe that you can play an important role in your communities, not only in helping to keep the peace, but in setting the kind of example that will bring positive and lasting influence on those around you,” the Custos said.