Governor-General Sir Howard Cooke (right) talks with Professor Kenneth Hall, pro vice chancellor at the University of the West Indies, during the university's Research Day opening ceremony and exhibition in January last year. Prime Minister P.J. Patterson officially announced yesterday that Professor Hall has been selected to be the nation's fifth Governor-General. - NORMAN GRINDLEY/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
PROFESSOR KENNETH Hall, pro vice chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI) and principal of the Mona campus, will be sworn in as Jamaica's fifth Governor-General on February 15. On that same day Governor-General Sir Howard Cooke will end his 15-year occupancy of King's House by swearing in his successor.
In making the announcement yesterday at Jamaica House, Prime Minister P.J. Patterson told journalists, "We are delighted that we have been able to identify someone so eminently suited for this task to take on the responsibilities as Governor-General for Jamaica." At the same time, he said the Queen has acknowledged the "tremendous service" Sir Howard has given to Jamaica as her representative.
The Prime Minister's announcement ended weeks of speculation about the likely successor to Sir Howard as the closely guarded process of selection took place.
"In accordance with tradition and precedence, I submitted with the support of the Cabinet of Jamaica a request that the Queen should see it fit to appoint as her representative Professor the Honourable Kenneth Hall," Mr. Patterson reported. "The Queen has indicated her acceptance of that recommendation," he added.
Reacting to his appointment as Governor-General, Professor Hall told The Gleaner: "I am quite honoured by the appointment. I am pleased about it and I am looking forward to the challenges associated with the post,"
He was unable to say who will replace him as principal of the Mona campus, as he was yet to meet with Vice Chancellor, Professor Nigel Harris.
Professor Hall will be joined at King's House by his wife, Rheima Holding, who was appointed an Alister McIntyre Senior Reseach Fellow in 2002.
Asked if the Opposition was consulted on the appointment of the incoming Governor-General, Prime Minister Patterson said he abided by the Jamaican Constitution by relying on advice from his Cabinet collegues, adding that the Opposition would respond in due time.
Yesterday, Opposition Spokesman Senator Dwight Nelson said it was too early to comment on Hall's appointment, but he added: "We were never consulted and there is an unwritten rule that the Government and the Opposition consult on appointments of this nature. We will be discussing this specific appointment tonight (last night)."
Hall's career highlights
Conferral of Order of Jamaica
Chairman/Caribbean Examinations Council
Pro Vice Chancellor/Principal University of the West Indies
Dep. Secretary General/CARICOM
History. Professor, State University of New York.