Mon | Jan 21, 2019

Holness tips Sykes to lead transformation of justice system

Published:Thursday | March 1, 2018 | 12:48 PMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer
Governor General Sir Patrick Allen (left) with newly appointed Chief Justice Bryan Sykes at Sykes' swearing in at King's House, St Andrew, earlier today.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has expressed confidence that there will be a transformation of the Jamaican justice system under the leadership of newly appointed Chief Justice Bryan Sykes.

Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony for Justice Sykes at King’s House earlier today, Holness said he had noted carefully the discourse surrounding Sykes’ acting appointment, pointing out his “extraordinary legal insight” was never in doubt.

“We all share the same objectives and we all want to see Jamaica prosper. I am confident that Honourable Justice Bryan Sykes will discharge his functions with honour, integrity and distinction,” Holness said to  applause.

Holness reiterated that he has the highest respect and regard for the judiciary and the executive which he leads has no inclination to undermine the independence of the judicial branch or even to trespass anywhere close.

“We’re interested in a partnership to ensure the efficiency and accountability of the judiciary to the people,” He explained.

“The public in whose interest we all serve, more than ever want to see an improved justice system through strengthening the rule of law and timely justice outcomes. Let me again emphasise, this is a strategic priority of the Government,” he added.

“Government has a responsibility to provide the necessary resources and the judiciary must use these resources in an efficient manner that ensures positive outcomes in a timely fashion as we seek to secure economic and social development for our entire society,” he reasoned.

In his reply, Sykes, who succeeds Jamaica's first female chief justice, Zaila McCalla, said he was under no illusion about what is expected of him and the legal system.

 “To head a country’s judiciary is an awesome and, some would say overwhelming [task], and is not one that I take lightly,” he declared.

As the country’s eighth chief justice, Sykes was conferred with the Order of Jamaica, the country’s fourth highest honour by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen.

His appointment became effectively immediately.