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Jul 29, 2011

Former Attorney General says more development needed for JPs

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington

Madrid has been unable to get a comment from the government about the association’s proposed JP Act, but News Five also posed the question to Minister of Foreign Affairs about the JP crisis. ‘Sedi’ Elrington is a former Attorney General, and was contacted by Madrid during his tenure as A.G. According to Elrington, a more comprehensive proposal is needed to restructure the institution.

Jose Sanchez

“The JP association is having a lot of issues with rogue JP’s committing crimes and they have been saying for years—under P.U.P. and U.D.P. administrations—they have been unable to get the act put into law. Your comments sir.”

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington, Foreign Minister

“I am not sure what the situation is. I think there is in fact a law which deals with it. It is simply that it does not give to the association the authority to appoint JPs, but certainly when I was Attorney General, they came to me, as a matter of fact, and they invited me on a number of occasions to swear in Justice of the Peace whom they had appointed. And I had to invite them into the office and show them the act and say look there is no there is no provision for you to be doing this. You don’t appoint Justice of the Peace. They are appointed by the Attorney General; not by the JP association. So that is a big problem which they have. I also got the impression that the JP Association was very, very politically divided; in much the same way that the bar association is divided. And that it is controlled by people who are very, very strong P.U.P.s and who thought that they had more power than they really have in law. I tried to discuss this with them over and over. I showed them where when the legislation was passed, they were not given the power they sought to arrogate onto themselves; that was retained by the Attorney General—the then attorney general who was from the People’s United Party. So they had very limited power; very, very limited power. And it will require a completely new rethinking of that piece of legislation—make it more comprehensive and make it much tighter and give them some authority because they have no authority under the present law.”

Jose Sanchez

“They say that they have no idea who are the new JPs being appointed, they feel disrespected and they can’t do anything to punish or to give any kind of reprimand to JPs who are committing crimes which as we see in land deals, land scams, etc.”

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington

“And that is so because they have no legal authority. They area an association that have set up themselves but it is not grounded in law. For them to be able to do anything to those who are justice of peace, the association would have to be given some kind of legal status, and they don’t have that. That is what they need to be seeking to get.”

Jose Sanchez

“But isn’t it time now that perhaps the political differences can be put aside because at the end of the day, it’s the public that has been suffering from these rogue JPs.”

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington

“Concede, concede and I would want to think and agree with you that it would be very opportune for some comprehensive legislation to be passed—dealing with the whole issues of the appointment of the Justices of the Peace, the criteria, the training and in fact the kind of activities that they will be allowed to do. There are some of them who are quite good: who are very diligent, who work very, very hard and then there are others who, to my mind, use the office for their own personal benefit which was never ever the intention. So I think that it would be an opportune time for some formal proposals to be made to the government as to how it should be structured.”

Elrington says that the association should study how the JP role is handled in the UK, since Belize inherited it as part of the British Commonwealth. The association should then examine how those rules were updated, followed by a discussion with the Attorney General, about the possibility of adopting those changes.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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7 Responses for “Former Attorney General says more development needed for JPs”

  1. WTF says:

    I think this guy is missing the point, The JP association should act as managers handling the training, administration, complaints from the public, and to some degree the discipline of all JP’s which would have to be members of the association. Just like a manager in a company, they handle the day to day operations but it is the big boss, the AG that does the hiring and firing.

  2. Victoria says:

    some of these JP’s are illiterate and have no ethics, most of them are appointed by the party they support due to campaigning for them, I don’t think that makes them qualified.

  3. yo says:

    ohhh,.,,…just found out its a party supporter who is the attorney general. so that explains everything right there. deep pitts right now.

  4. concerned Belizean says:

    The JP Association has never appointed JP’s. In the past they recommended, the final appointment was always with the Ministry of the Attorney General. Elrington get your facts straight…

  5. BLVNJAH says:


  6. mylegacyb4mypeople says:

    Correct me if I am wrong but I thought a jp’s duty was to witness signatures on official documents, what other duties are there that a JP performs where all this diligence and hard work is necessary and not just honesty. Remember, My Legacy B4 My People.

  7. Nimmo says:

    Channel 5, can you PLEASE feature someone else in your news besides this white bearded FOOL!! WE are tired of SEDI. He noh redi for for governance!! Hubert looking like the smarter brother everyday!!

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