Although January is almost ending, it is the first time that I am seeing some of you since 2015 started and so I am pleased to extend to you all my very best wishes.
My hope is that 2015 will be a very satisfying and productive year in which effective team work and partnerships will facilitate solutions to our most pressing challenges. I hope that we will achieve the goals and objectives we have established as a nation and will continue our quest to make Jamaica a better place.
I join Ambassador Coye in extending a warm welcome to each of you who determined that King’s House was the right place to be at this time. You have come to witness a time-honoured ceremony. The swearing-in of a Custos reminds us of the value of volunteerism and of commitment to exemplary leadership which are essential to the development of our country.
We recognize that faithful, effective service to the people is the hallmark of a successful Custos and that any aspirant to this important position must have a proven track record of outstanding service and probity. Serving and retired Custodes will tell you that this role is not about prestige, though that is part of the package.
The Hon. Marigold Harding, who fully dedicated herself to serving the people of St. Andrew for more than four years, can attest to the demands which the role of Custos makes on the incumbent as well as on his or her family.
Mrs. Harding, as you transition into retirement from the position of Custos, I know that Prof the Hon. Oswald Harding will be happy to have more of your company and fewer official engagements. He has dutifully supported you on such engagements as well as in all aspects of your service as Custos, for which I thank him most sincerely.
There will be a more appropriate opportunity to thank and commend you, Custos Harding for your effective service and gracious support, but let me just briefly say that you have been an asset, especially through your consistent actions to train and motivate the Justices of the Peace for St. Andrew.
This morning we are here to swear-in Mrs. Donna Parchment Brown as the new Custos Rotulorum for the parish of St. Andrew. More than thirty three years ago she was called to the Bar and has served in both the private as well as the public sector. She is perhaps best known for her stellar leadership of the Dispute Resolution from 1994 to 2013, a role which earned her national recognition in the award of the Order of Distinction, Commander Class in 2004. Her extensive Curriculum Vita illustrates the level of commitment and character which are essential to this role.
Mrs. Parchment Brown, this begins a new phase of your life which will put your people skills to good use as you will be required to interact with people across all social levels, irrespective of belief or persuasion. As my representative in St. Andrew, I shall rely on your support for my community outreach programme, The Governor-General’s Programme for Excellence, as we collaborate in building a better Jamaica. You are aware of all the duties and responsibilities which you now assume and I expect that you will undertake them to the best of your ability.
Mahatma Gandhi once said: “Infinite striving to be the best is mankind’s duty; it is its own reward. Everything else is in God’s hands”.
I hope that your tenure as Custos Rotulorum for St. Andrew will be crowned with success measured in the lives which you would have impacted for good.
And so Mrs. Parchment Brown, I will read to you the proclamation and invite you to take and subscribe the Oaths of Allegiance and of Office.