Good Afternoon to you all.

I greet you warmly and thank you for joining us in this important ceremony for the installation of the Hon. Lincoln Thaxter as Custos Rotulorum for the parish of Portland.  As most, if not all, of you would know, this installation follows a small swearing-in ceremony held at King’s House in September at which the Hon. Mr. Thaxter took the Oaths of Office. Thus he has been able to legally execute his duties as Custos, pending today’s formal installation in the parish of his birth and the parish in which he has been called to serve at the highest level.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is significant that we are gathered here at the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) in the T. P. Lecky Hall.  This building perpetuates the memory of a great son of Portland who received local and international acclaim for his outstanding work in agriculture and, more so, in the cattle industry.  The Jamaica Hope, the Jamaica Red and the Jamaica Black are synonymous with his name and his work which revolutionized the livestock industry and helped to improve the lives of countless farmers.  Dr. Lecky’s pioneering work continues to inspire sons and daughters of this parish to strive for excellence.  Of this we are proud!

The Hon. Lincoln Thaxter has no doubt observed and benefitted from the examples set by the late Dr. Lecky and other outstanding Portlanders whose passion for service have contributed so much to Jamaica.  Sir, you will now have the opportunity and space for a significant impact on the lives of the people of Portland.  As an educator who has worked in this Parish, you have already influenced many lives and perhaps there are persons in this Hall whose lives you have served to enrich.

The wealth of experience you have garnered over the years as an educator and in the Cadet Corps, your ongoing community involvement and your faithful service in your church, have prepared you to be an effective Custos. Your life of commitment, education, discipline, volunteerism and character building are all values that are important to the citizens of Portland. They are values to be emulated by all, especially by our youth and future leaders.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Custos Thaxter’s success will not only depend on what he brings to the table.  Equally important will be the support that he receives from you, the citizens of Portland, especially the JPs.  I have always been proud of the distinguished, principled JPs from Portland that I meet from time to time.

The Hon. Lincoln Thaxter has succeeded the Hon. Roy Thompson who served unselfishly and faithfully as Custos, over the past thirteen years and has contributed to Portland’s advancement. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in expressing our appreciation to Mr. Thompson. More will be said about his accomplishments on other occasions when I am sure you will say thanks to him.  However, I know that you, Mr. Thompson, will be available to Custos Thaxter so that he can benefit from your experience and I thank you for the commitment which you have shown in this regard.

The position of Custos carries with it prestige, but also a huge amount of duties and responsibilities which must be executed with integrity and in a non-partisan manner.  As an impartial leader your objective is to build up the parish through effective communication, collaboration and cooperation with the citizens and other stakeholders.

In that process you will be required to spread the positive messages of the “I Believe” Initiative and inspire people to understand and accept that we must use what is good about Jamaica to fix what is wrong in our country.  Build partnerships – especially with the youth – for the advancement of the parish.    I am confident that you are equal to this task, as together with all the other Custodes, we seek to make Jamaica a place of choice to live, work, raise our families and do business.

May God will bless you, your family, and all the people of Portland and, by extension, Jamaica, Land we love.

I now invite Custos Thaxter to receive the Grand Commission and Magistrates’ Roll.