Timeline: Bryan Sykes’ Appointment As Acting Chief Justice

Background to the Issue

After naming Bryan Sykes as Jamaica’s new ‘acting’ chief justice, following the retirement of former chief justice Zaila McCalla, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has come under fire and heavy criticism. The controversy is over the appointment of Sykes as “acting” chief justice, instead of a full permanent appointment. In defense of his decision, Holness asserted that Sykes’ permanent appointment would depend on his performance.

But this stance has been sharply rebuked by other political pontiffs in the island. Former Prime Minister and respected attorney-at-law, P.J. Patterson, in an interview on Nationwide Radio, argued that the acting appointment has “placed Sykes in an unpleasant position, as the Chief Justice should not be fettered and the separation of powers must be maintained”, thus, “security of tenure is an important element for the discharge of judicial function by the Chief Justice.”

The Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC) added their voice to the mix, stating that “the appointment of Jamaica’s chief justice should never be clothed in any garb that even remotely suggests a catering to the personal pleasure of any member of the Executive”.

See the timeline of headlines as the story unfolds below.

Tues, Jan 30, 2018

Wed, Jan 31, 2018

Fri, Feb 2, 2018

Sat, Feb 3, 2018

Sun, Feb 4, 2018
Mon, Feb 5, 2018

Tues, Feb 6, 2018

Thursday, Feb 8, 2018

Senior Opposition lawmaker Senator K.D. Knight has suggested that those close to Prime Minister Andrew Holness who do not have the fortitude to tell him he is wrong in the controversial decision to appoint Bryan Sykes as acting chief justice are “yes-men and lackeys”.

Mon, Feb 12, 2018

Judges from across the island gather at the Supreme Court for a meeting to discuss the continued refusal of Prime Minister Andrew Holness to permanently appoint Bryan Sykes as chief justice.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Prime Minister Andrew Holness advises Governor General Sir Patrick Allen to appoint Justice Bryan Sykes as Jamaica’s chief justice.