Tue | Dec 18, 2018

I can't be any clearer ... PM defends appointment of acting chief justice

Published:Friday | February 2, 2018 | 6:54 PM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness speaking with Acting Chief Justice Bryan Sykes on Thursday

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has hit back at critics of his decision to appoint the country’s new chief justice in an acting role, declaring that he’s from a different age with a different way of thinking. 

Holness was speaking in Denham Town, Kingston western today.

Yesterday, in announcing the appointment, Holness asserted that Sykes' permanent appointment would depend on his performance.

"Actions that bring results will determine the assumption of the role of Chief Justice," Holness said during the swearing-in ceremony for Sykes.

IN PHOTO: Acting chief justice Bryan Sykes extends a handshake to retired chief justice Zaila McCalla

Since then, there has been a flood of criticisms and Holness today sought to defend his actions.

See the Prime Minister's full response below:

"I come from a different school, a different age and a different way of thinking. It may not always coincide with those that have traditional views. In the appointment of the chief justice, I was encouraged by the very people who are critical now to take an unconventional view. I followed that view. I interviewed after having gone through a process of short listing the chief justice. I have never met the person who I’ve selected as chief justice. I’ve never had the opportunity to have a conversation with him. I can safely say I do not know him and I selected someone based upon what is presented on paper as his resume and what I have researched as his work and what I have consulted with with his peers. It is indeed a break from the traditional and conventional way in which this was done. I’m, certain that the chief justice understands that I am a person who believes in systems of accountability. I’m not intent on treading, trampling or in any way interfering with the independence of the judiciary, but the judiciary is also accountable for how taxpayers’ funds are spent.  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."