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Appoint JPs to deal with minor traffic, family matters

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Successive governments have been complaining about the horrendous backlog of cases in the courts. I am suggesting that Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi embark on a programme to establish a network of community courts throughout the country to deal with and expedite minor traffic matters and petty communal and family issues.

One of the easiest ways is to appoint Justices of the Peace (JPs) to deal with and adjudicate on such matters.

JPs are people with an untainted background, a character above reproach and are fully conversant with some of the laws of T&T; this I hope is always true and correct. JPs are former civil servants, teachers and high-profiled people in their respective communities, all with a penchant to see that law, order, peace and good governance prevail in our country.

The community courts can operate in the Magistrates’ Courts at nights and on weekends, and I think that this initiative is quite practical and would be fully welcomed by citizens.

This initiative may require some amendments to the existing laws, which I am sure would not encroach on the existing laws of the nation. And I am sure it is an initiative that the Opposition UNC and other civic-minded entities would willingly support.

For far too long we have been hearing the chief justice, judges, magistrates, the media and other citizens talking about the horrible backlog of cases, and they all are concerned about the slow pace of matters being heard by the courts. We must remember that justice delayed is justice denied.

Mr Attorney General, despite the several bills and amendments you have pushed through Parliament, the people do not feel anything positive is being done. Stop talking about plans and programmes for the system of justice and start working and walking the talk.

Your spirited approach, especially when the media is around, must now give way for action. It is action this nation needs now, more than ever.

I call upon you take heed of this request. Show the national community that you are serious, really serious about the urgent dispensation of justice, and switch to action.

Do it now or forever hold your peace.

Paras Ramoutar

Former councillor Caparo