Gentles installed as Trelawny custos, pledges to build vibrant cohort of JPs

FALMOUTH, Trelawny — Businessman and senior justice of the peace (JP) Hugh Gentles was yesterday installed as custos otulorum of Trelawny and immediately stated his intention to build a vibrant and effective unit of JPs in the parish.

“My installation as custos now allows me to build on this tradition of service as I commit to the work this role entails,” Gentles said at the ceremony held at Ocean Coral Spring Hotel in Trelawny.

“My vision as custos is to build a legacy of a strong, organised and effective cohort of justices of the peace. As an active JP myself for the past 30 years, I understand how indisputably important JPs are to communities throughout Jamaica. Their work is critical in helping the custos to promote the rule of law, public order and civic pride. Many serve as lay magistrates,” he added.

Addressing the ceremony, Prime Minister Andrew Holness described Gentles as a man who has demonstrated dignity over his years of service.

“Custodes are a key part of the framework for rebuilding the nation as a peaceful, caring, loving and dignified society,” Holness said at the ceremony.

“The office of custos, flowing from the head of State, must exemplify and reflect and actively promote the dignity of the State. The role exemplifies the importance of civic duty and must never be taken lightly. Mr Hugh Gentles, who has just been installed as custos today, has demonstrated dignity,” Holness said.

Gentles was appointed a JP in 1991 when he was just 34 years old. He was actually sworn in as the new custos in February this year, following the resignation of Paul Muschett, who had served the parish for the past 11 years.

His installation was conducted by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen who underscored that custodes are responsible for recommending and swearing-in JPs and for supervising the execution of their legislative functions.

Pointing to his ‘I Believe’ initiative designed to engage young people to grasp the vision of a new and better Jamaica, the governor general said youth empowerment will be a critical aspect of Gentles’ work.

According to the governor general, Gentles will assist the initiative by inspiring young people “to contribute to national development, propel them to embrace what is right with Jamaica and what will be helpful to their development, and empower them to give themselves and to fulfil their God-given potential”.

Gentles, in response, committed to embracing the I Believe initiative and the Governor General Achievement Awards as tools to prevent urban migration among youngsters in the parish.

“I pledge to represent you and the work of your office in the parish of Trelawny to the best of my ability. This includes a commitment to strengthening the I Believe Initiative and Governor General Achievement Awards programmes which will motivate young people to remain in their parish and value the role of academic excellence, service, leadership and volunteering as key components in building their communities. This is critical in parishes like Trelawny which is primarily rural and thus vulnerable to the economic and social impacts of urban migration,” Gentles said.

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