Justice Bryan Sykes takes oath to act as Chief Justice

The Honourable Mr. Justice Bryan Sykes takes the Oath of Allegiance and the Judicial Oath for the Office of Chief Justice of Jamaica at a swearing-in ceremony held at King’s House on February 1,2018.
The Honourable Mr. Justice Bryan Sykes takes the Oath of Allegiance and the Judicial Oath for the Office of Chief Justice of Jamaica at a swearing-in ceremony held at King’s House on February 1,2018.
His Excellency The Governor-General presents the Honourable Mr.  Justice Bryan Sykes with his Instrument of Appointment as Chief Justice of Jamaica at a swearing-in ceremony held at King’s House on February 1, 2018.
His Excellency The Governor-General presents the Honourable Mr. Justice Bryan Sykes with his Instrument of Appointment as Chief Justice of Jamaica at a swearing-in ceremony held at King’s House on February 1, 2018.
His Excellency The Governor-General (centre) shares lens with Her Honour Mrs. Justice Zaila McCalla (left), outgoing Chief Justice and the Honourable Mr. Justice Bryan Sykes (right) after his swearing-in ceremony to act as Chief Justice.
His Excellency The Governor-General (centre) shares lens with Her Honour Mrs. Justice Zaila McCalla (left), outgoing Chief Justice and the Honourable Mr. Justice Bryan Sykes (right) after his swearing-in ceremony to act as Chief Justice.
His Excellency The Governor-General reads the Instrument of Appointment for the Honourable Mr. Justice Bryan Sykes as Acting Chief Justice of Jamaica.
His Excellency The Governor-General reads the Instrument of Appointment for the Honourable Mr. Justice Bryan Sykes as Acting Chief Justice of Jamaica.
His Excellency The Governor-General (left) shares frame with Prime Minister the Most Honourable Andrew Holness (right), Honourable Mrs. Justice Zaila McCalla, outgoing Chief Justice (2nd left) and the Honourable Mr. Justice Bryan Sykes (2nd right) Acting Chief Justice.
His Excellency The Governor-General (left) shares frame with Prime Minister the Most Honourable Andrew Holness (right), Honourable Mrs. Justice Zaila McCalla, outgoing Chief Justice (2nd left) and the Honourable Mr. Justice Bryan Sykes (2nd right) Acting Chief Justice.

A day before his 57 birthday, His Honour Mr. Justice Bryan Sykes today (Feb. 1) took the oath of allegiance and the judicial oath as acting Chief Justice of Jamaica effective immediately. Justice Sykes becomes the country’s 8th judicial head since independence. 

He was sworn into office by Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen this morning before an audience comprised of Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Justice Minister Delroy Chuck, Attorney-General Marlene Malahoo Forte, President of the Senate. Tom Tavares-Finson, outgoing Chief Justice Mrs. Zaila McCalla, other members of the Judiciary and his family.

Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony at King’s House Sir Patrick Allen noted that Justice Sykes who has given over thirty years of service to the legal profession is a “skilled jurist” with a broad knowledge of the judiciary and its intricacies. 

“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,” the Governor-General said.

The importance of ‘law and order’ was further emphasized by Prime Minister Andrew Holness who also stated that the timely discharge of justice was his primary consideration in exercising his authority to select the new Chief Justice.  “I believe that the selection that I have made by the authority invested in me (and in accordance with the power invested in the Office of The Governor-General) is the best way to advance the public interest and strengthen the rule of law and timely justice outcome.”

He added that Justice Sykes is erudite and will also focus on efficiency which is the “loud clamor of the public.”

For his part, the new Chief Justice in his remarks said that the court system must strive to reach a state where there are definitive dates for each of the stages through which cases must pass before they are discharged from the system.  He said personal efficiency, court mechanism from entry to disposition of cases and remote access using technology, are instruments which can assist in the timely delivery of judgement. 

Outgoing Chief Justice Mrs. Zaila McCalla was lauded at the ceremony for her service to Jamaica.  Sir Patrick Allen expressed thanks for the able and dignified manner in which she led the judiciary since 2007, making her nation proud in the process.

“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; as well as her sound judgment, diplomacy, sagacity and quiet confidence,” he said.  

Bishop Conrad Pitkin is the new Custos of St. James

His Excellency the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen presents Bishop Conrad Pitkin with his Instrument of Appointment as Custos Rotulorum for the parish of St. James at King’s House on January 29, 2018.
His Excellency the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen presents Bishop Conrad Pitkin with his Instrument of Appointment as Custos Rotulorum for the parish of St. James at King’s House on January 29, 2018.
His Excellency the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen looks on as Bishop Conrad Pitkin takes the Oath of Allegiance and the Oath of Office at King’s House on January 29,2018.
His Excellency the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen looks on as Bishop Conrad Pitkin takes the Oath of Allegiance and the Oath of Office at King’s House on January 29,2018.
His Excellency the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen shares lens with Bishop Conrad Pitkin and his family following his swearing-in ceremony at King’s House on January 29, 2018.
His Excellency the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen shares lens with Bishop Conrad Pitkin and his family following his swearing-in ceremony at King’s House on January 29, 2018.

The parish of St. James is to have a new Custos come February 1.  He is Bishop Conrad Pitkin, Senior Pastor of Faith Temple Assembly of God, Montego Bay who was today (Jan. 29) sworn in by Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen during a ceremony held at King’s House.  

In his remarks at the swearing-in ceremony which is customarily attended by close family of the Custos-designate, Sir Patrick Allen said Bishop Pitkin’s appointment comes at a time when the eyes of the world are focused on western Jamaica.   He expressed confidence in the new Custos, citing his appointment as an expansion of the work in which he is already engaged in the parish.

“I am aware that you are not entering unchartered territory because your efforts over the years to reach out to the grassroots communities, motivate and inspire young people especially the unattached, has earned you the experience necessary to take on the reins of Custos of this parish,” The Governor-General said.  

He further remarked that the office will give the new Custos a broader platform to help young people grasp the vision of a new and better Jamaica.

Bishop Pitkin replaces the Honourable Ewen Corrodus who demits office on January 31 after eight and a half years as Custos.  He is already calling for a comprehensive social programme involving all stakeholders to help tame and destroy the crime monster plaguing the parish of St. James. 

“I support the State of Public Emergency (in St. James),” he said “but it is not a panacea or a means to an end. A social programme is needed, involving all parish stakeholders. If we unite and work together we will tame and destroy the monster of crime.”  

Bishop Pitkin said he was “humbled to be asked to serve in the post” yet honoured for the confidence bestowed on him.  Quoting Ester 4:14 he expressed his firm belief that his footsteps are ordered by God and stated that with His grace he will serve the parish to the best of his ability and continue the strong leadership left by Custos Corrodus.

He also pledged support for the Governor-General’s I Believe Initiative, and stated that it is an important medium through which young people can be embraced and moral values and attitudes as well as civic pride instilled. 

Bishop Pitkin will be installed at a public ceremony to be held in the parish at a later date.  At that time, he will receive the insignia of the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander as well as the Magistrate’s Roll, which lists all the Justices of the Peace for the parish of St. James. 

Justice and humanity above publicity

Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen addressing the 38th annual National Leadership Prayer Breakfast on Thursday (Jan 18).
Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen addressing the 38th annual National Leadership Prayer Breakfast on Thursday (Jan 18).
Sir Patrick Allen (r) and Reverend Stanley Clarke pray during the National Leadership Prayer Breakfast on Thursday (Jan 18).
Sir Patrick Allen (r) and Reverend Stanley Clarke pray during the National Leadership Prayer Breakfast on Thursday (Jan 18).

Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen used his address at the 38th staging of the National Leadership Prayer Breakfast on Thursday (Jan. 18) to urge leaders across the nation to “stand in the gap” and be “peddlers of hope” even when their actions do not make the headlines.   

In a quote from United States civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  the Governor-General alluded to the country’s need for leaders who place justice and humanity above publicity.   “We need leaders who are in love with justice.  Not in love with publicity but in love with humanity.”

In an apparent reference to sensational news reporting, he also encouraged those who are working for change to remain resolute.  “We know that for some of us our work and efforts will never make headlines; but if you make a misstep, you will never be allowed to forget it.,” Sir Patrick Allen said.  “But do not be disheartened colleague leaders, nor be discouraged.  Stay in the trenches, do your best…and God will reward you in the end.” He continued.

Earlier, Sir Patrick Allen stated that the current crime situation in the country was a compelling reason for the annual prayer session among leaders.  He noted that although there have been several interventions by religious and social organizations, “we have not suppressed the negatives that impact the society so greatly.”

Meanwhile, in his sermon, Reverend Astor Carlyle, Pastor of Webster Memorial United Church and an Ambassador of the Governor-General’s I Believe Initiative said murders represent an “assault on the soul of the nation” and called for a “circumcision of the heart” in order to reclaim Jamaica from the vices of crime, violence and moral decay.    

The National Leadership Prayer Breakfast is sponsored each year by the Victoria Mutual Group with the Governor-General as Patron.  Proceeds from this year’s staging will be donated to the Randolph Lopez School of Hope.

Supreme Court gets seven female judges

Custos Rotulorum for the parish of Kingston and Deputy Governor-General the Honourable Steadman Fuller (center) is joined by Hon. Mrs. Justice Zaila McCalla – Chief Justice (4th right), the Hon Mr. Justice Denis Morrison - President of the Court of Appeal (5th left) and the judges sworn in to serve in the Supreme Court and as Master-in Chamber, at King’s House this morning (January 5, 2018). The Judges from left are Her Honour Mrs. Sonya M. Wint Blair, Her Honour Mrs. Stephanie A. Jackson Haisley, Her Hon. Miss Carolyn N. Tie, Her Honour Miss Judith A. Pusey, Her Honour Mrs. Simone A.Y. Wolfe Reece, Her Honour Miss Anne-Marie A. Nembhard and Her Honour Mrs. Natalie T. Hart Hines.
Custos Rotulorum for the parish of Kingston and Deputy Governor-General the Honourable Steadman Fuller (center) is joined by Hon. Mrs. Justice Zaila McCalla – Chief Justice (4th right), the Hon Mr. Justice Denis Morrison – President of the Court of Appeal (5th left) and the judges sworn in to serve in the Supreme Court and as Master-in Chamber, at King’s House this morning (January 5, 2018). The Judges from left are Her Honour Mrs. Sonya M. Wint Blair, Her Honour Mrs. Stephanie A. Jackson Haisley, Her Hon. Miss Carolyn N. Tie, Her Honour Miss Judith A. Pusey, Her Honour Mrs. Simone A.Y. Wolfe Reece, Her Honour Miss Anne-Marie A. Nembhard and Her Honour Mrs. Natalie T. Hart Hines.
Deputy Governor-General the Honourable Steadman Fuller presents the Hon. Miss. Justice Carolyn N. Tie with her instrument of appointment.
Deputy Governor-General the Honourable Steadman Fuller presents the Hon. Miss. Justice Carolyn N. Tie with her instrument of appointment.
Deputy Governor-General the Honourable Steadman Fuller observes as Her Honour Ms. Judith A. Pusey takes her Oath of Allegiance and Judicial Oath during the swearing-in ceremony at King’s House on January 5.
Deputy Governor-General the Honourable Steadman Fuller observes as Her Honour Ms. Judith A. Pusey takes her Oath of Allegiance and Judicial Oath during the swearing-in ceremony at King’s House on January 5.

Seven women have been appointed as judges of the Supreme Court.  They include Senior Parish judge, Her Honour Miss Judith Pusey, who has been appointed to act as a Puisne judge.    

In his remarks, the Honourable Steadman Fuller Custos of Kingston and Deputy Governor-General, who presided over the ceremony at King’s House on behalf of Sir Patrick Allen, said the judiciary has been the cornerstone of Jamaica’s democratic processes and the system by which rights are secured under the Constitution.  He added that the transparency in selecting new judges, is one way of securing that legacy.

“In Jamaica the judiciary has been the bedrock of our democratic processes and continues to be secured by a cadre of individuals, whose dedication to preserving the rule of law, is foundational to its credibility,” he said.

In commending the judges on their appointment, the Deputy Governor-General said it was an affirmation of their skills and competencies and the quality service given, leading up to their appointment.

“This is a position (judge) of high esteem which requires your continued dedication to service above self, and the preservation of the integrity for which our judicial system has become known,” he stated. 

Meanwhile, in her charge to the judges, Chief Justice Mrs. Zaila McCalla said that the judges all had a proven track record for high standards of performance.   “Be astute in your deliberations and decision-making and guard your judgement judiciously.  But remember that you are accountable to the public you serve,” the Chief Justice remarked.

Noting that she will be demitting office at the end of January, the Chief Justice said that she is satisfied that she is leaving behind a strong judiciary, even though it is not resourced as she would have liked. 

The judges who will take up their new assignment as of January 8 are Her Honour Miss Carolyn Tie, Her Honour Mrs Stephane Jackson Haisley and Her Honour Mrs. Sonya Wint Blair who have been confirmed in the post of Puisne Judge.   Her Honour Miss Judith Pusey will be joined as acting Puisne Judge by Her Honour Mrs. Simone Wolf Reece and Her Honour Miss Anne-Marie Nembhard.  Her Honour Mrs Natalie Hart Hines was also appointed to act a Master-in-Chambers.

Message from His Excellency The Governor-General The Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen On, GCMG, CD, KSt.J – New Year’s 2018

His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Linton Allen, ON, GCMG, CD, KSt.J.

My fellow Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora, Happy New Year.

This new year presents a great opportunity for us to write a new chapter in our lives, personally and nationally: a perfect time to reflect on the core values and traditions that placed us at the global forefront as the “One Love” people.

The challenges and sacrifices of the past year generated a degree of anxiety amongst our people, about the future. Many of us lost friends and loved ones, but we are grateful for the gift of life, health and family.

And even though hope is frail and faith may grow thin, we must not forget our own strength and resolve, and the pride that makes us uniquely Jamaicans.

As we proceed into 2018, we need to unite around the values and principles of:

  • Neighbourliness,
  • honesty,
  • kindness,
  • decency, and
  • respect,

so that we can truly become the prosperous nation we envision.

In our thrust to play our part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race, we have made positive marks on the global stage: setting world records; shaping cultures, consciousness and civilization.

Some of these Jamaican vanguards who readily come to my mind include: Marcus Garvey, Nanny of the Maroons, Usain Bolt, Bob Marley and Ms. Lou, exemplary individuals who have all triumphed in the face of difficulties.

That indomitable Jamaican spirit is also within all of us, reminding us that we can do great things despite the hurdles we have to overcome along the way.

I encourage everyone to participate in a national dialogue for the maintenance of our values, their restoration in some cases, and the protection of our public spaces, so that they are safe for everyone to access without harassment.

It is in this context that individuals will be able to legitimately achieve their dreams and aspirations.  

I encourage those of you who are able:

  • to affirm those persons who are forging ahead despite their challenges,
  • to offer support to parents who are experiencing difficulties in raising and supporting their children,
  • to mentor our young people – our Millennials – so that they can make decisions that will benefit them rather than hurt them, and
  • to extend a ‘duty of care’ to the elderly and the disabled.

When we fulfill these obligations, we state very clearly the type of society we are, and are creating for future generations.

Since each new year offers us a great opportunity for a fresh start, let us seize the moment to renew our minds, replacing doubts and negativity   with:

  • hope,
  • love,
  • honesty, and

Thus consciously living our lives with a purpose.

Lady Allen and the rest of my family join me in wishing you a healthy and successful New Year.