100 year-old tradition will end on December 6, 1999.
ANGWIN (Napa County) Calif., November 30, 1999A more-than-100-year-old
tradition on Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific Ocean will end on
December 6, when the island will end its practice of naming a Magistrate
to head local government, and instead name a Mayor.
The change moves the Pitcairn government leader's title away
from one that is associated with the court system to one reflecting
the purely civic duties mayors perform, says a report to the Pitcairn
Islands Study Center located on the campus of Pacific Union College
Pitcairn's current magistrate is Jay Warren. Voting for the
island's first ever mayor will take place at 8 a.m., December 6. One of
the magistrate's duties in the past has been chairing the Island
Council. The magistrate has in the past had both executive and judicial
The Island Council, which is charged with the management of
Pitcairn's internal affairs, has been comprised of the magistrate, two
councillors, the chairman of the internal committee, the island
secretary, three nominated members, and two advisory members.
An Internal Committee, appointed annually by the Council, is
responsible for arranging and supervising the performance of the
traditional public work for which all adult and able-bodied men on
Pitcairn are liable.
The Island Court has consisted of the magistrate and two
councillors. Its jurisdiction is limited to offences under the island
code committed by, and civil actions between, residents of the island or
which arise within territorial waters. In the past, sentence or
judgment has been passed only by the island magistrate.
It is not clear exactly how the functions of The Island Court
will be carried out in the future, except that one Pitcairner said that
if a magistrate is needed in the future he or she will be appointed.
Admittedly, The Island Court is seldom called to act: In a
twenty year period 1990 only two cases on the tiny
one-mile-wide-by-two-miles-long island resulted in a conviction and a
fine by the court in a period of twenty years.
Pitcairn Islands Study Center, 1 Angwin
Ave., Angwin, CA, USA. Herbert Ford, 707-965-6625, 707-965-2047, Fax: 707-965-6504,
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: http://library.puc.edu/pitcairn