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Justices of the Peace meet in Punta Gorda

Reports of illegal practices of a few Justices of the Peace and Commissioners of Supreme Court in Punta Gorda were addressed during a recent meeting.

Paul Mahung reporting…

“The welcome address at Sunday’s meeting was given by Punta Gorda Mayor Fern Gutierrez. Report on activities of Toledo Branch Justices of the Peace and Commissioners of the Supreme Court Association were given by President Bruno Cuppinger. Guest speaker was president of Belize Justices’ of the Peace and commissioners of the Supreme Court Association Adrian Madrid.

Adrian Madrid, President, Belize Justice of the Peace Association

“We came to Punta Gorda to support the Punta Gorda chapter and I’m glad we got a good delegation.  We had a fruitful meeting, very well attended by Belize City and JPs from the Toledo district. One of the main topics that I dealt with is, I spoke of the code of conduct of JPs. At the moment we have been having many complaints about JPs who have been charging for their services so I spoke at length about that and reminded them that it’s an offence to charge any person for the service they give, why, because when they took that oath and signed that document it tells you without fear or favor so a JP cannot receive any payment for his or her services. We stressed that very well and the problem is not only in Punta Gorda but all over the country and apparently now it’s becoming a business with JPs because they believe that they are the ones who are working and so they must charge, now we have over 3,000 JPs in this country and if you have to charge for your services or saying that you are overworked then just don’t do it or resign as a JP if you can’t do the work. The law states that you must serve your fellow JPs free of charge but we had a good meeting also we spoke about training for JPs which through the chief justice we are getting the assistance. I cannot speak much about it because it is not approved as yet but something will happen in the future.”

Paul Mahung, Love News

“Madrid also complemented Toledo JPs and commissioners of Supreme Court who continue to serve dedicatedly with honor and dignity. During discussion sessions strong concerns were expressed regarding JPs and commissioners of Supreme Court who continue to charge not only for signing required documents but also they are certifying that they know the person and for a number of years when in fact their statement is untrue. Comments during the discussion echoed the urgent need for appropriate action to be taken against those justices of the peace and commissioners of Supreme Court who are engaged in any illegal practices contrary to Belize’s justice of the peace act and code of ethics. Additional concerns focus on politically appointed JPs in Toledo who remain no functional and since their appointment have missed majority and in some cases all meeting sessions regarding their roles and responsibilities as justices of the peace. The meeting ended with vote of thanks by Justice of the Peace Placida Requena.”