Sat | Apr 21, 2018

Shadow minister urges students to pay attention to 'botched' chief justice appointment

Published:Monday | February 12, 2018 | 12:00 AM

People's National Party's shadow minister of justice Senator Donna Scott Mottley is adamant that the move by Prime Minister Andrew Holness to appoint Bryan Sykes in an acting chief justice position is a blatant indication that there could be political interference in the delivery of justice.

She was addressing University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus, students at a dinner hosted by residents of Rex Nettleford Hall on Saturday night.

Scott Mottley called on students from the UWI to take an active part in the politics of the country, especially when it comes to issues that affect their future.

She said that the issue of the appointment of the chief justice and all matters concerning the laws of the land must be of interest to the next generation.

She pointed out that students must note the "botched" appointment, saying that it gives the appearance of political interference in the administration of justice. She said that it was inappropriate for the prime minister to withhold the appointment of the chief justice on the grounds that he must perform at a certain standard.

"For the first time in Jamaica, the Caribbean, and Commonwealth history, there is an acting chief justice when there is a clear vacancy due to retirement. But what is disturbing to me, though, was when the prime minister said the appointment would be predicated on his performance," she said.

Scott Mottley said that the prime minister had only served in one ministry before he was made prime minister, yet he was not forced to act in the position.

She said that the prime minister could have done damage to the public's view of the justice system. She pointed out that there are a number of cases before the courts that could affect the Government and the Jamaica Labour Party. She suggested that a ruling in favour of the governing party could cause persons to believe that the ruling may have had something to do with matters outside of the law.

Scott Mottley urged Holness to "properly" appoint Sykes in the vacant position.