REMARKS BY GOVERNOR-GENERAL
HIS EXCELLENCY THE MOST HON. SIR PATRICK ALLEN, ON, GCMG, CD
AT INSTALLATION OF THE HON. JEFFREY MCKKITTY, OD, JP
AS CUSTOS OF ST. MARY
THURSDAY FEBRUARY 28, 2014
Good Afternoon to you all!
This is a beautiful afternoon for us to share in the ceremony for the installation of the Hon. Jeffrey McKitty as Custos Rotulorum of St. Mary. I am pleased to see all of you who have turned out for this occasion. You would have learned that on an earlier occasion, I had sworn-in Mr. McKitty at King’s House to permit him to exercise the duties of Custos, pending today’s formal installation in the parish which he serves.
I take this opportunity to express our kind regards and appreciation to the Honourable Alarick Pottinger who retired December 2012 after serving for eighteen years as St. Mary’s Custos. He knows and is known by the people and gave good leadership towards the attainment of the parish’s objectives. His understanding and appreciation of the culture of St. Mary enabled him to garner support for his undertakings. I believe that all of us recognize the passion and the high standards which guided his service to this parish.
On behalf of Lady Allen and my predecessors, I thank you, Mr. Pottinger, for your outstanding service to St. Mary and to Jamaica as a whole. I also wish to express my gratitude to your dear wife Colleen for the constant, solid support she gave you as you performed your duties over those many years. I welcome your commitment to continue supporting our new Custos as well as to work on other initiatives in the parish.
It is symbolic that we are gathered here in the Claude Stuart Park for this ceremony. Claude Stuart was a distinguished representative from St. Mary in the House of Representatives from 1955 until 1962. During four of those seven years he served as Minister of Health. In this beautiful park which immortalizes this son of St. Mary, is the monument to Tacky, who in 1760 led the most significant slave revolt which occurred on the eastern side of the island. What this choice of location is saying for the new Custos of St. Mary, is that he is committed to sacrificial service and effective leadership even in the face of tremendous odds.
Custos McKitty has had a distinguished career as a teacher and hotelier for over a quarter of a century. During this time he has been instrumental in establishing the annual St. Mary agriculture show which showcases the best of the parish’s agricultural and industrial produce. He has given outstanding service to community development at every level. On the occasions when the former Custos was overseas, as the then senior Justice of the Peace, Mr. McKitty ably deputized for him.
As most of you should know, the Custos represents the Governor-General in the parish where he or she serves. This requires that, in the absence of the Governor-General, he or she should receive the leaders of our Government and other dignitaries who visit the parish. The role of the Custos includes leadership in a number of committees, including that which is responsible for making recommendations on the appointment of suitable persons to serve as Justices of the Peace. As the Chief Magistrate, the Custos assigns Justices of the Peace to all sittings of the Petty Sessions Court in the parish. As a non-partisan leader, he or she is well placed to foster parish-wide collaboration for achievement of agreed objectives for socio-economic advancement. His or her contribution to the promotion of the rule of law, public order and civic pride, is essential to effective local governance.
Custos McKitty, you have the privilege to lead in a parish whose natural beauty has been an inspiration to several well-known writers, entrepreneurs and musicians, including Chris Blackwell, Noel Coward, Ian Flemming, Perry Henzell, Beres Hammond and many others who have called St. Mary home. Lady Allen also hails from this parish and I have been blessed by the strength of character and other values which were formed in her in St. Mary.
“Hope for positive transformation is one of the basic principles of the “I Believe” Initiative, whose mantra is that “there is nothing wrong with Jamaica which cannot be fixed by what is right with Jamaica”. I am pleased that Custos McKitty has bought into this initiative and that he will be working with me for the upliftment of our youth. His “Fathering Programme”, which he established for boys from single-mother households is in keeping with the IBI.
One of the passions of both former Custos Pottinger and Custos McKitty is the promotion of agriculture. This is very much in keeping with the Strategic Development Plan for this parish. I commend the vision in this Plan for St. Mary to have a “diverse agricultural production which enables small and large scale farmers to contribute significantly to the economic development of the parish”. As a firm believer in the Jamaica Agricultural Society’s theme “Grow what you eat; eat what you grow”, I challenge parishioners to do their best to achieve this objective.
I require and charge all Justices of the peace and all other citizens of this parish, to support your Custos as he seeks to carry out his duties in the service to all people of St. Mary.
I charge you, Custos McKitty to use to the best advantage of this parish, your intimate involvement with the proposals for its development, as well as your knowledge of its many challenges. You have taken the baton at such a time as this and the road will not always be easy. I urge you to seek and utilize good advice and to be open to adopting the best practices for the conduct of your role. Always be ready to encourage and build up the younger generation, knowing that as you invest of yourself in them, you are building the future of our country. I ask you to continue to give of your best in the mission which all of us must embrace, to make Jamaica a place of choice to live, work, raise our families and do business.
I know that in all this, you will have the firm support of your dear wife and other members of your family.
Welcome and enjoy the rights, privileges and responsibilities of this high office.
May God bless you and the people of this beautiful parish as you embark on this next phase of your journey.
I now invite Custos McKitty to receive the Grand Commission and Magistrates’ Roll.