KINGSTON (JIS) – Sally-Kay Porteous was installed as the new Custos Rotulorum for the parish of Manchester yesterday Feb. 1.
Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, presided over the ceremony, which was held at King’s House in Kingston.
In his remarks, Sir Patrick urged Ms. Porteous to use her office to safeguard the procedures and processes by which Justices of the Peace (JPs) carry out their roles, while influencing development within the parish.
He noted that the role of JPs has expanded and evolved over the years, noting that they are vital to increasing efficiency and effectiveness in the justice system.
“With this increased and elevated importance of the roles of Justices of the Peace, the office of the Custos becomes even more critical to the process of efficient and effective justice in a country, where there is frequent call for justice,” he stated.
The Governor-General noted that Ms. Porteous is the first Custos to be installed in the 50th year of the island’s Independence and called on the residents of Manchester to support her vision and efforts to create a better parish.
Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen (right), presents newly installed Custos Rotorulum for the parish of Manchester, Sally-Kay Porteous with her instrument of appointment during the ceremony at King’s House. Looking on is the Governor-General’s aide-de-camp, Captain Garth Anderson. Paying tribute to the outgoing Custos and Acting Custos, the Governor-General commended them for the valuable service and leadership they have rendered during their tenure.
In her response, Ms. Porteous said she will strive to ensure that all the citizens of the parish are respected and treated equally, adding that she is “thrilled” to serve in the new capacity.
“I am honoured to have the opportunity to work with the Justices and citizens of the parish to try to make the kind of contribution that will ensure peace and security for the people of Manchester,” she said, adding that she will strive to emulate the sterling work, which was done by the outgoing Custos.
Ms. Porteous noted that her experience in numerous roles over the years has prepared her to serve the parish well.
“With each position that I was involved, came a new learning experience and that learning experience taught me lessons that have helped me and readied me for the next position to come.
“I know, for instance that what I have learned while being in politics will help me in this position as Custos. There are no better lessons in behavioural patterns, community conflicts, etcetera, that you will learn than in political life. In politics, you not only see it all but you learn to deal with it and to resolve conflicts that can explode in a heartbeat,” she stated.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Robert Rainford, said that Custodes are expected to play an important and central role in the development of their parish.
He said the Ministry also recognises the role they play in the transformation of the justice system, and as such, seeks to ensure that “in our construction programme of our courthouses we have identified and earmarked offices in the main courthouses in the parish capitals to accommodate the custos in the discharge of his or her official duties”.
The swearing in ceremony, which was originally scheduled for January 26, was postponed to facilitate further consultation.
Ms. Porteous was appointed Custos of Manchester on November 15, succeeding Dr. Gilbert Allen, who retired on June 30, 2011.
As Custos, she will be the representative of the Governor-General in Manchester. Among her responsibilities are serving as chief Lay Magistrate for the parish, and ensuring that there are sufficient JPs/Lay Magistrates to serve the petty session courts and communities throughout Manchester.