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JP under probe for having 14-year-old girl as bartender


A St Andrew-based justice of the peace (JP) is now the subject of an investigation by the police after it was discovered that she has had a minor working in a bar she operates.

The girl, who is now 17 years old, has claimed that she had been working in the bar since she was 14.

Under Section 34 of the Child Care and Protection Act: “No person shall employ a child who has attained the age of 13 years, but who has not attained the age of 15 years, in the performance of any work other than in an occupation included on the list of prescribed occupations…consisting of such light work as the minister responsible for labour considers appropriate for the employment of any child of the age referred to…”

In addition, the legislation states : “No person shall employ a child in the performance of any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual or social development; or in night work or an industrial undertaking.”

But a Jamaica Observer source said that the girl, who was stopped in Half-Way-Tree, St Andrew, by the police recently and charged for breaching the Disaster Risk Management Act as she was not wearing a face mask in public, claimed that she has been a bartender for some three years.

In the process of issuing her a summons to attend court, the police were told that the girl did not have any form of identification with her. She told the cops that she was employed and could call her boss to identify her.

When the employer arrived at the police station she declared that she was a JP as she sought to have the girl released into her custody.

But, investigators had the girl call her mother to come to the station. When the mother arrived, she told the police that her daughter ran away from home when she was 14 years old.

According to the mother, months later she saw her daughter again when she was taken back home by the JP.

But it did not take the child long to again run away from her home and return to a premises next door to the JP’s business place where she lived with a man and worked as a bartender.

“We discovered that there were times when the JP did not pay her as she claimed the bartender was short of the cash she should have. The child was not attending school during this time as she worked full-time with the JP,” said the Observer source.

According to the source, the JP was already the subject of an investigation as her licensed firearm had been taken by someone she was connected with and used in the commission of a crime.

“It is not yet clear if she will face criminal charges, but I expect that she might lose her commission as a JP,” added the source.

 

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