Nine members of the judiciary were sworn in to higher office for the Michaelmas Term by Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen yesterday at King’s House.
Taking the oath of allegiance and the judicial oath were justices Kissock Laing and Georgiana Fraser, who have been appointed to act as judges of appeal from September 25, 2023 to December 20, 2023; while Stephany Orr, Pamela Mason, Opal Smith, Tracey-Ann Johnson, Sharon Millwood Moore have been appointed as acting puisne judges from September 25, 2023 to December 20, 2023.
Also taking the oath of allegiance and the judicial oath as masters-in-chambers were Luciana Jackson and Christine McNeil, with effect from September 25, 2023, to December 20, 2023.
Congratulating the appointees, the governor-general expressed confidence in their ability to perform well, noting that their appointment and reappointment are testament of their contributions to the justice system.
“Congratulations to each one of you and I wish you a very successful term in your respective positions. We know you have done well over the past whenever you acted, and we are confident that you will do equally well during this term,” he said.
President of the Court of Appeal Justice Patrick Brooks wished the judicial officers well, noting that he looks forward to their positive performances.
In his remarks, Chief Justice Bryan Sykes said the appointees have been selected based on their problem-solving skills, commitment to hard work and excellence over time.
“We are moving to the stage now where we are going to be more open with the process of judicial selection. So, we have crafted job definition for the chief justice, president of the Court of Appeal has done his; we are doing it for the Masters, and we’re doing it for the Supreme Court judges. Why this is important is because you are selecting persons to do a job; you are not selecting qualifications,” he said.
“Qualifications don’t do the job, it’s people who do the job… Seniority only comes in if, in the rare case, you have two candidates who are equal in all respects, then I suppose seniority has a role there,” he said.
The chief justice said they will assist in improving the performance and efficiency of the country’s legal system. Responding on behalf of his colleagues, Justice Laing expressed immense honour and privilege to serve and pledged to do their utmost to justify the trust and confidence reposed in them.
“We are indebted to Jamaicans from all walks of life who advised us to ‘mek sure yu study yu book’ or words to that effect more eloquently stated, and on this occasion, which roughly coincides with the start of the new academic year, it is also fitting that we express our appreciation to all educators, especially those who have helped to shape our lives,” he said.
He also expressed gratitude to his peers, mentors, family, friends and well-wishers for their unwavering support.