New junior foreign minister - Malahoo-Forte appointed senator

Published: Monday | July 13, 2009

Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer



Prime Minister Bruce Golding has appointed controversial Resident Magistrate Marlene Malahoo-Forte a senator and minister of state in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.

Malahoo-Forte, who will be sworn in at King's House on Wednesday, has filled the Senate vacancy left by ex-National Security Minister, Colonel Trevor MacMillan, a release from the Office of the Prime Minister stated.

Her appointment comes weeks after reports surfaced in local legal circles that members of the Jamaican and the Cornwall Bar associations raised objections to her being named to the High Court bench.

Sources close to The Gleaner said Malahoo-Forte's application was submitted to the Judicial Service Commission, but some members of the profession felt that she was too polarising a figure for that sensitive position.

The source said during separate meetings of the Cornwall and Jamaican Bar associations, it was unanimously agreed that they would mount strong objections to her appointment.

The resident magistrate stirred the wrath of the legal fraternity in June 2008 during a Gleaner Editors' Forum at which she blamed "hustling" lawyers for the wide-scale breakdown of the justice system.

Her appointment to the senatorial and junior ministerial posts comes weeks after she reportedly withdrew her application to the Judicial Service Commission.

The Gleaner has also learnt that Prime Minister Bruce Golding had considered Malahoo-Forte for junior minister in the justice ministry, but it is not clear why she was instead placed in foreign affairs, where she will join Minister Dr Ken Baugh and State Minister Ronald Robinson.

Career highlights

Previously served as assistant director of public prosecutions.

Past president of the Association of Resident Magistrates and the Legal Officers' Staff Association.

Currently chairperson of the Women's Leadership Initiative.

In 2007, she was selected a Yale world fellow at Yale University.

Has a master's degree in public administration, with a concentration in political advocacy and leadership, from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.

Speciality in public policy and management as an Edward S. Mason fellow.