Holness hits back at critics

- defends position on chief justice appointment

(Jamaica Gleaner) Prime Minister Andrew Holness has hit back at critics regarding his decision to appoint the country’s new chief justice in an acting role, declaring that he was from a different age and his way of thinking may not always coincide with those who hold traditional views.

“I was encouraged by the very people who are critical now to take an unconventional view. I followed that view,” said Holness at a press briefing on Friday at the Denham Town Restorative Justice Centre, immediately after touring the zone of special operations in the area along with a delegation from the European Union.

“I interviewed after having gone through a process of shortlisting the chief justice. I have never met the person who I’ve selected as the chief justice. I’ve never had the opportunity to have a conversation with him, I can safely say. I do not know him. I selected someone based upon what is presented on paper as his resume and what I’ve researched as his work and what I have consulted with his peers. It is indeed a break from the traditional and conventional way in which this was done. I am certain that the chief justice understands that I am a person who believes in systems of accountability,” reasoned Holness.

Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte announced on Wednesday that Prime Minister Andrew Holness had advised Governor General Sir Patrick Allen to appoint Justice Bryan Sykes to act as chief justice.

Malahoo Forte stated that Justice Sykes is to serve in the position until further advised.

Holness quickly came under fire from the Oppo-sition People’s National Party, which said that the move does not guarantee the independence of the Judiciary from the Execu-tive arm of Government as prescribed by the Constitu-tion.

Some persons in the legal fraternity have questioned Andrew Holness’s decision to appoint Bryan Sykes to act as chief justice.

In a Letter to The Editor of The Gleaner, Jamaica-born Patrick Robinson, who served as a judge at the International Court of Justice in Hague, Nether-lands, said: “The practice of appointing persons to act as judges of the Supreme Court is bad enough, but the appointment of a person to act as the chief judge until the governor general is ‘further advised’ is wholly unacceptable.”

However, Holness maintains that he has no intention of interfering with the independence of the judiciary, arguing that there has to be accountability for the use of taxpayers’ funds.

“We want to see an improvement and strengthening in the rule of law and timely justice outcomes, and the chief justice will be accountable for this. I can’t be any clearer. Those who want to criticise have the luxury of doing it. I have the luxury of running a country and being accountable to the taxpayers for the results of the systems that we are elected to run,” explained Holness.


From Ecuador’s Amazon to president’s palace, indigenous women demand end to drilling

BOGOTA,  (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Indigenous women from Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest have called on the country’s president to end oil and mining projects on their ancestral lands, as the nation pushes to open up more of its rainforest to drillers.

New Peruvian leader vows to fight corruption ‘at any cost’

LIMA, (Reuters) – Peru’s new President Martin Vizcarra urged justice officials yesterday to act swiftly and join him in a fight against corruption “at any cost,” two days after his predecessor was toppled by a sprawling graft scandal.

UK investigators search London office of firm at centre of Facebook data storm

LONDON,  (Reuters) – Investigators from Britain’s data watchdog yesterday searched the London offices of Cambridge Analytica, the data analytics firm at the centre of a storm over allegations it improperly harvested Facebook data to target U.S.

Islamist gunman attacks French supermarket, kills three

TREBES, France,  (Reuters) – A gunman killed three people in southwestern France yesterday as he held up a car, fired on police and seized hostages in a supermarket, screaming “Allahu Akbar” before security forces stormed the building and killed him, authorities said.

Jamaica offers to buy Venezuelan shares in Petrojam

(Jamaica Gleaner) Jamaica has made a formal offer to purchase Venezuela’s 49 per cent stake in the Petrojam oil refinery.


Not Ready to Subscribe ?

You can still join over other 15,000 subscribers and receive FREE breaking news alerts as they happen and the morning brief featuring top stories of the day. 

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

We built stabroeknews.com using new technology. This makes our website faster, more feature rich and easier to use for 95% of our readers.
Unfortunately, your browser does not support some of these technologies. Click the button below and choose a modern browser to receive our intended user experience.

Update my browser now