Tue | Feb 20, 2018

Brian Sykes pokes fun at himself as he takes over as chief justice

Published:Thursday | February 1, 2018 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett/Senior Gleaner Writer
Retired Chief Justice of Jamaica Zaila McCalla (right) welcomes the new Chief Justice Brian Sykes after a special sitting of the Supreme Court downtown Kingston yesterday.

Justice Brian Sykes yesterday made fun of himself minutes after it was revealed that he would succeed Chief Justice Zaila McCalla as head of the country's judiciary.

"I hope her successor will need to display the same tact and the same civility as she did," Sykes said to much laughter from members of the legal fraternity.

His comment came during a special sitting of the Supreme Court to pay tribute to McCalla, who demitted office yesterday after 10 years as chief justice.

Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte announced, during the sitting, that Prime Minister Andrew Holness had advised Governor General Sir Patrick Allen to appoint Sykes to carry out the duties of chief justice "until further advised."

His appointment, which was greeted with rousing applause, takes effect today.

McCalla urged members of the legal fraternity to give Sykes their full support, noting that he had been involved in a number of the initiatives implemented during her tenure.

Justice Sykes, in return, described the former chief justice as a "patriot who has shown commitment to her country".

Justice McCalla said that she felt confident that she was leaving the nation's judiciary in good hands. "I feel confident that I am leaving behind a group of strong, well-informed judges.

"It has been my great privilege to have served Jamaica and at a time such as this," she said.

Other persons who paid tribute to McCalla included Solicitor General Nicole Foster-Pusey, Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn, and veteran attorney Frank Phipps.