The parish of Trelawny has a new Custos. He is 53-year-old farmer and businessman, Mr. Harold Paul Arnold Muschett,  who was sworn in yesterday (March 18), at a civic ceremony, held in Water Square, Falmouth.

Governor-General, His Excellency the Most  Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, who administered the Oath of Office, also conferred on Mr. Muschett  the Order  of Distinction, Commander Class.    The  position of Custos for the parish became vacant in January 2009, when the former  Custos, Hon. Roylan Barrett, passed away.

In his address at the ceremony, the Governor-General said the new Custos would bring his unique skill and emphasis to the office.

“Trelawny is a very interesting parish with stark contrasts, and I am sure the varied skills that Custos Muschett has, will assist him in responding to the needs of the parish at all levels and in all situations.  I am confident that he will serve the parish of Trelawny with distinction, and bring to the office a great level of dedication and passion, a passion for success, which has so ably been displayed in his personal and professional life so far,” he said.

He  encouraged the residents of the parish to join with their new Custos in realising the vision of making Trelawny a better parish.

The Governor-General paid tribute to the late Custos Barrett for  the rich legacy he  left behind, noting that his passion for voluntarism had inspired many persons islandwide.

Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Senator the Hon. Dorothy Lightbourne, who also addressed the ceremony, emphasised the importance of the office of Custos in helping to strengthen the nation’s justice system.

“It is in recognition of the very important role that the Custodes must play in the Transformation Agenda for our justice system, that the Ministry of Justice has taken the bold step of ensuring that in our Courthouse Building Programme, we identify and earmark office space in the main courthouses in the parish capitals to accommodate the Custos in the discharge of his official duties,” she said.

She said that the government is putting the necessary legislative and statutory framework in place, to ground the authority, functions and privileges of Custodes, who are the local representatives of the Governor-General.  She noted that Cabinet has already given approval for the legislative framework to be established and for drafting instructions to be issued to prepare the necessary Bill.

“I do believe that the creation of a statutory footing for the office of Custos will be a significant and laudable step taken in demonstrating our commitment to giving the office the respect and stature it rightly deserves,” the Minister said.

In his response, the new Custos said he considers it a privilege and honour to be called on to serve his parish.

“I am one among numerous individuals who are committed to the progress of Trelawny.  I am profoundly grateful, and deeply humbled, by the confidence that has been placed in me to fulfill these most honourable duties in the service of my community and nation,” he said.