Tue | Apr 7, 2020

Former Chief Justice McCalla appointed to ECJ

Published:Friday | February 21, 2020 | 12:07 AMNickoy Wilson/Staff Reporter
Zaila McCalla, newly appointed commissioner to the ECJ.
Zaila McCalla, newly appointed commissioner to the ECJ.

Zaila McCalla, former chief justice of Jamaica, has been appointed as a selected commissioner to the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ), the country’s election oversight body.

Her appointment comes after the December 31, 2019, resignation of Dorothy Pine-McLarty as ECJ chairman after six years in the post.

Pine-McLarty was first made an ECJ selected commissioner in 2006 and became chairman in 2013.

The appointment of the former chief justice is in line with Section 1(b) of the first schedule of the Electoral Commission (Interim) Act, which states that “four members shall be appointed by the governor general, after consultation with the prime minister and the leader of the Opposition”.

They are referred to as “selected commissioners” in the act.

Earl Jarrett, Professor Alvin Wint, and retired Supreme Court judge Justice Karl Harrison are the other selected commissioners.

The act also states that the governor general shall appoint four “nominated commissioners”, two of whom should be recommended by the prime minister and others by the opposition leader.

The nominated commissioners are the Jamaica Labour Party’s Tom Tavares-Finson and Aundre Franklin, and the People’s National Party’s Julian Robinson and Wensworth Skeffery.

McCalla was called to the Bar in 1976, commencing a decades-long legal career serving as a clerk of court, then as a Crown counsel and assistant director of public prosecutions in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP).

She served the ODPP until 1985, when she was appointed a resident magistrate.

In 1993, McCalla was appointed to act as master-in-chambers of the Supreme Court and was appointed to the post on August 1, 1996.

A year later, she was appointed a puisne judge of the Supreme Court.

McCalla was sworn in as chief justice of Jamaica with effect from June 27, 2007, succeeding Justice Lensley Wolfe, who served in the post from 1996 to 2007.

She was succeeded in 2018 by the current chief justice, Bryan Sykes.