Justices of Peace recognised for community work

The JPs Association 2019 executive: From left, 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 from photo is Councillor McCleary Frederick.)

The Cayman Islands Justices of the Peace in their annual general meeting last month highlighted an ongoing programme in which members offer their services free of charge.

At their AGM on March 13, the members spoke of the programme, which is under way every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 9 a.m. to noon, at the Government Administration Building lobby. During that time, a JP is available to provide service free of cost to benefit those seeking certification of their signatures on official forms and papers, and authenticated true copies of documents such as immigration and land transfer papers.

Highlighting the usefulness of the programme, Association President Anthony Scott lauded the work done by outgoing President Kerry Nixon and her team in this regard, notably programme organiser and Association Secretary Christine Wright for running the programme “with military precision”, according to a press release.

Following the association’s AGM at the George Town Yacht Club, Scott welcomed Governor Martyn Roper and wife Lissie Roper to a dinner event, at which he explained some of the work that association members routinely perform. These range from officiating at the destruction of narcotics and drugs by law enforcement officers to notarising documents. Association members also work in various juvenile programmes run by the Department of Children and Family Services and assist with the judicial system through the association.

Guest speaker Paulinda Mendoza-Williams, director of the Department of Children and Family Services, said Cayman’s JPs had contributed 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, she 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 the JPs for making themselves available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year to ensure the islands’ children are protected. “JPs have fought for our children to be educated, to have access to family, access to healthcare, 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.

Mendoza-Williams said she was seeking the JPs’ continued 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 and provide programmes 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.

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

The new JPs Association executive is: President Anthony Scott; Vice President Paulette Conolly-Bailey; Immediate Past President Kerry Nixon; Secretary Christine Wright; Treasurer Georgette Myrie; Councillors Jenny Manderson, Debra Humphreys, Albert Anderson and McCleary Frederick.