Sun | Jan 20, 2019

PM urged to 'move with haste' to confirm Sykes as Chief Justice

Published:Thursday | February 8, 2018 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer

Retired President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Seymour Panton, has urged Prime Minister Andrew Holness to "move with haste" in confirming Justice Bryan Sykes as Chief Justice.

Panton, the longest-serving appeal court president, contends that there is no need to leave open the possibility of a constitutional challenge to the acting appointment.

"The chances are that the courts will decide that an acting chief justice may only be appointed where there is no vacancy, and the holder of the post is on vacation or sick leave or otherwise out of office. We need to avoid such a situation," Panton reasoned.

He added: "I assume that the honourable Prime Minister was advised that the appointment of a chief justice could be done in this manner. If he was so advised, it is my humble view that the advice was incorrect; and there is no good reason to continue along the path of such advice."

Admitting to knowing Sykes since 1978, Panton declared that he was eminently qualified for the post.

"As a member of the Court of Appeal and later, its longest-serving president, I had the opportunity to oversee the judicial work of Mr Justice Skyes. I found it impressive. His work ethic is exceptionally good. He sets and maintains very high standards; a very good example to all," Panton asserted.