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Blair quits

Published:Saturday | June 29, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Blair

Political ombudsman walks after more than a decade in office

AFTER 11 years of policing and refereeing Jamaica's divisive political landscape, Bishop Herro Blair has stepped down from his oversight role as political ombudsman.

A release from King's House yesterday said that Blair tendered his resignation, effective June 30.

In a letter to Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, Blair stated that recent developments in his religious ministry will no longer afford him the quality time required to function as political ombudsman.

He was first appointed to the post in 2002 and was reappointed for a five-year term in 2009.

Sir Patrick expressed appreciation for his dedication and commitment to service, and the dignity with which he carried out his duties as political ombudsman.

Blair said it was a great honour for him to have been afforded the privilege to serve Jamaica as political ombudsman. He said the political growth and maturity which Jamaica has experienced over the last 11 years will ensure that negative political events of the past are not manifested in the nation's future.

OFFICE IN LIMBO

Meanwhile, The Gleaner reported earlier this week that lengthy delays in the submission of a report to Cabinet by the legislative leadership of Parliament had left the Office of the Political Ombudsman in limbo.

Cabinet is the body vested with the responsibility to decide the future of the office.

Last year, a parliamentary committee engaged in vigorous debate and deliberations on a private member's motion, which examined the relevance of the office and whether it had outlived its purpose.

South West St Catherine Member of Parliament Everald Warmington, who moved the motion, had made his position clear that the Government should cease from spending millions of taxpayers' dollars on an office that had become irrelevant.

Warmington questioned whether the $18.62 million spent by the office each year was justified. However, a number of civil-society groups, as well as the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, had strongly recommended that the office be retained and its role expanded.

In April, Blair rebuked Warmington as he charged that a "vendetta" was being hatched against him.

The political ombudsman had slammed claims by Warmington that he had applied for a salary increase from the governor general.

"I have never asked the governor general for an increase. I must now say there is a vendetta going on," Blair said in April.