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Jul 15, 2011

President of JP Association says GOB refuses to legalize JP Act

Danny Madrid

Issues of the Justices of the Peace could have been solved years ago. According to Madrid, a former P.U.P. city councilor, in 2006, the council gave an office to the JP association inside the Commercial Center. He said the association was kicked out and they discussed with the then attorney general the way forward and invited him to speak to the association’s general assembly. He never showed up. Madrid said that the JP association had formulated its own act in 2005 that dealt with behavior and training for JP’s and could have dealt with cases such as Angel Moreira.  Unfortunately, Madrid says the 2005 Justice of the Peace Act is still not a legal document.

Danny Madrid, President, JP Association

“We decided to form this association which we did and we visited the districts and we opened chapters. We have nine chapters in the country—all presidents elected by their own fellow JPs—and we approached the Attorney General ministry that we wanted to write up an act for the JPs which they agreed and we did. A lot of work was put into it, but the act was written by us JP’s and it passed through House of Representatives and through the Senate and it was assented by the Governor General so the only thing that was left was for the minister was left to sign document into law; which up to date has not been done. And we spoke about the system that was used to appoint JPs and we did not like it so we said let’s work together with the ministry—instead of the minister appointing JPs, let us do it through the Association using the act. It was agreed. That means that the minister and the attorney general will still have the last say to appoint JPs. We will interview people; you fill out a form and you have to produce a police record, two letters of recommendation and the reason why you’d want to become a JP. And we will vet it and send it yearly to the office of the attorney general so that he could ok it. And that was always done. And by doing that, by vetting the applicants, we noticed that we were getting people who are more committed to the cause because they don’t ask you to become a JP, you ask to become a JP and because of that then, we had a better system and more qualified people to become JPs. I would tell the people that eventually it wasn’t the minister who made you a JP, it wasn’t the association who made you a JP; you made yourself a JP because you wanted to be a JP. In March of 2009, again I invited all the presidents of the country to visit the attorney general once more. So we all went to his office. We met with him and many things were discussed. Again the meeting was cordial and we felt that we were making a break through now and after that was finished, the door was slammed and that was the end of that conversation—nothing happened again, absolutely nothing. We tried to deal with ministry, the ministry didn’t do anything. I wrote a three page letter to the new solicitor general—the one that just left—explaining to him the thing about the association and to assist us in trying to get this government to work with us. I met with him after that and I must tell you that when I spoke to him and I explained to him everything that we wanted to do and what we were doing; all he did was bow his head and said I can’t. This month, the twenty-third of July, we will be meeting in Belmopan for our second quarterly meeting and to reestablish a chapter in Belmopan. So regardless that between the government and us, there is no kind of relationship, there is no kind of respect for the association; we continue to do the work we are supposed to do.”

In respect to the investigation of fraudulent land sales in the south of the country, police are looking for twenty-eight year old Lindburg Williams from the Commerce Bight Pier area of Dangriga, whose name has been linked to the scam at Bikini Caye, which was owned by Israel Marin and Rosella Zabaneh.

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