Four judges were sworn in yesterday (Sept. 14) by Governor General, His Excellency, the Most Hon. Professor Kenneth Hall, at a ceremony held at King’s House.
Having effectively assumed duties earlier this month, the judges who took their oath and were presented with official instruments of appointment. Christine Andrea McDonald, Master in Chambers, at the Supreme Court, was appointed Puisne Judge with effect from September 1, 2007, while His Honour, Martin Luther Gayle, Senior Resident Magistrate, was appointed as Puisne Judge with effect from September 17, 2007. Her Honour, Marva Angela McDonald-Bishop, Resident Magistrate, was also appointed as Puisne Judge with effect from September 17, 2007, and Audre Whelma Lindo, Registrar at the Supreme Court was appointed Master-in-Chambers to the Supreme Court, with effect from September 1, 2007.
In his welcome remarks, the Governor General said, “What we are doing is ensuring the orderly succession of authority and responsibility within the justice system, as new persons are appointed to take over higher positions in that system”. He informed that the selection of these individuals, “is an indication that Jamaica still produces professionals of high quality to manage our judicial affairs”.
Professor Hall told the judges that they have a high responsibility not only to themselves but also to the nation, adding that improvements in the system are important to maintaining Jamaicans’ loyalty and support for the courts.
Citing from the Justice Reform Task Force Report, which proposes “timely delivery of a high standard of justice for all,” by 2017, he noted that what is needed was a justice system which is “available, accessible, accountable, and affordable on a timely, friendly, flexible, fair and competent basis for all.”
“The challenge we face today is that there is an urgency to these requests and these demands. .nobody here and very few people are prepared to wait that long. What is important is that people are suggesting that the characteristics which are expected to be available in 2017 should be available today as a normal part of our experience,” the Governor General
He commended the judges on their appointments, and for their “efforts towards enhancing the quality of justice in our system.I encourage each of you to continue to serve this country with excellence so that the highest standards of justice can be
In a brief and pointed charge to the appointees, Chief Justice of Jamaica, Zaila McCalla while extending congratulations, emphasized to the appointees the hard work that was ahead in tackling
“You will be required to be more proactive and determined in your approach to your duties so as to reduce delay and minimize a waste of judicial time,” she noted. Reminding that justice was an important part of democracy, she urged them to, ” keep the vision that we are striving to attain firmly at the foremost of our minds as we continue to perform our duties, even under difficult circumstances”. She called for teamwork, charging them to function as agents of change in the discharge of their duties to achieve an efficient justice system.
Speaking on behalf of the judges, Miss Justice Christine McDonald told the gathering that she and her colleagues felt “privileged, honoured and humbled”. Thanking the members of the Judicial Services Commission for the confidence placed in them, Miss McDonald said that she and her colleagues were conscious of the “grave responsibility” remitted to them, and would rise to the challenges.
“We pledge to work hard and conscientiously with every fibre of our being in upholding the principles and traditions set by our predecessors,” she noted, while affirming that, “We will never forget that we are the servants of the people.”