Good morning!

I am pleased to begin the best month of the year by welcoming each one of you to King’s House to participate in and witness this significant event – the transition of leadership in the Judiciary, the third branch of government.

Before I invite His Honor, Justice Sykes to take the Oath of Allegiance and the Judicial Oath, please allow me the privilege of expressing thanks to Her Ladyship the Honourable Mrs. Justice Zaila McCalla, for the able and dignified manner in which she led the judiciary since June 2007. 

Her Honour is recorded in the annals of Jamaican history as the first female Chief Justice.  Her appointment came at a time of new dimensions in leadership.  Since then more women have moved into leadership ranks, making their presence felt in public and private boardrooms from which they continue to make significant contributions to national development.  The Judiciary by far has seen the greatest gain.

Chief Justice McCalla, has made Jamaica, her family and her gender proud.  We observed, with satisfaction, the way in which she strengthened the Judiciary by the programmes and strategies implemented, the leadership and mentorship she provided to young and mature Judges alike; her sound judgment, diplomacy, sagacity and quiet confidence.   

I will personally miss our consultations and the freedom to speak freely in the in-audience conducted on a regular basis.  She made it very easy for me to trust the CJ as what you see is what you get.  No pretensions but patience and humility.  No wonder it is said that Humility is the hallmark of greatness. She has worked faithfully, conscientiously and overtime for the last 4 decades and is deserving of some rest and relaxation before she is impressed into any other service.  Godspeed and blessings as you enter a new phase in your life.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Honourable Mr. Justice Bryan Sykes who will now act as Chief Justice has a broad knowledge of the Judiciary and its intricacies and is quite a skilled Jurist. His training, practice and exposure will inure to his advantage as he assumes this position at a time when our country is at the cross roads and needs the active voice of the Judiciary to send the strongest message that we are a country of law and order, nothing will hinder us from accomplishing our objectives of making Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.

You are respected among your colleagues and acquaintances and the confidence which is being reposed in you anticipates that you will use your youth, your experience, judicial wisdom and independence to your benefit for a successful tenure.

I congratulate you and welcome you to the high Office of the Chief Justice, with all its rights, privileges and responsibilities.