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Remembering Carl Rattray

Published:Monday | March 26, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Simpson Miller

VETERAN LEGISLATOR Delroy Chuck has said he regrets opposing the appointment of Carl Rattray as Supreme Court judge. Rattray had move straight from the political arena to the bench.

"I must confess, later when I entered politics, I realise how wrong I was. And I know the member from Central St James (Lloyd B. Smith) will soon find out how wrong he was in all of his writings, because when I wrote extensively, you find out that when you are in politics you get a completely different view from when you are on the outside," Chuck said.

Rattray died on March 14. He was president of the Court of Appeal from 1993 to 1999 when he retired from the bench. He was a member of the People's National Party (PNP) and was member of parliament for South East St Catherine from 1989 to 1993. He served in several capacities in government and in Parliament. He was attorney general and minister of justice from 1989 to 1992 and was attorney general and minister of legal affairs from 1992 to 1993. He was leader of government business in the Senate from 1978 to 1980.

Last Tuesday, Chuck, the North East St Andrew Member of Parliament and leader of opposition business, was among legislators who paid tribute to the late Rattrary in the House of Representatives.

"It seems to me that Jamaica has to wake up to the fact, and we must learn, from persons like the honourable Carl Rattray that there were politicians, many of whom are inside here, who can still enter politics, still practice politics, stay in or leave politics and don't have to see everything through a partisan lens," said Chuck.

"We have a lot to learn from him because he is now being seen as a symbol of someone who can serve his country, not only as a lawyer, not only as a judge, but as a politician and still maintain not only the common touch, but the objective touch that everyone can be proud of," he said.

He said Rattray's judgments on the bench were straightforward, objective and legal.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said "the passing of the Honourable Justice Carl Rattray leaves a void that must be quickly filled if Jamaica's progress is to be assured."

"We have lost one of our finest stalwarts in the arena of governance in our country. He walked the corridors of power as a fine example of how things should be done - a shining light in the conduct of national affairs," Simpson Miller said.

She recalled that before entering upon his political career, he had distinguished himself as an outstanding advocate at the private Bar.

"However, it was his movement from the political arena to the judiciary, as president of Jamaica's Court of Appeal, that served to define the Honourable Carl Rattray as a man to whom conventional barrier-ceilings were simply meant to be broken through."