I am pleased to welcome every one of you to King’s House today for the installation of Mrs. Marigold Harding as Custos Rotulorum for the parish of St. Andrew. Mrs. Harding’s appointment, which became effective on August 9, 2010, followed on the retirement of Bishop the Hon. Dr. Carmen Stewart, OJ, who served as Custos for the past eighteen years.
On behalf of my predecessors, Her Excellency and myself, I wish to acknowledge the contribution of Bishop Carmen Stewart to the parish of St Andrew and the nation. I applaud her for the dignity, sincerity and keen sense of purpose with which she served as Custos. Thank you Bishop Stewart.
Custos Harding has worked closely with the former Custos, serving the parish as a Justice of the Peace for some 28 years, and also as the President of the Lay Magistrates’ Association of St. Andrew.
St Andrew is vastly different from what it was when it was established 143 years ago. Today, it is a perfect replica of the physical and social landscape of Jamaica.
The 181 square miles range from the throbbing metropolis of Cross Roads, Half-Way Tree and New Kingston, to quiet, deep-rural communities of Irish Town, Guava Gap and Lawrence Tavern.
In communities from Rema, Papine, Riverton to Red Hills, Barbican, Jacks Hills and all areas in between; there is diversity in the kaleidoscope of communities amid the mountains, valleys, plains and rivers that make up St Andrew.
Your appointment, Custos Harding, comes at a very critical juncture for the parish and the country. There are many challenges, several of which have their origin in the breakdown in family life and youth underachievement, and they require collective participation in the healing, restoration and prosperity of the nation.
You now have a golden opportunity to use your office to mediate, inspire, motivate and encourage the citizens of the parish to seek new paths, and a better way of life through peace, love, respect and unity.
And you will not have to do it alone. You have a cadre of over 1000 Justices of the Peace to support you.
Ladies and gentlemen, I believe that it is a great honour to serve one’s country and we should nobly do it now and not defer for we may not have that opportunity again.
It is my pleasure therefore to welcome the Honourable Marigold Harding to the position of Custos Rotulorum for the parish of St. Andrew, and invite her to come to the lectern to take and subscribe to the oaths.