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
- JIS: PM Expresses Confidence In Acting Justice
- I Can’t Be Any Clearer … PM Defends Appointment Of Acting Chief Justice
- Editorial: Confirm Justice Sykes Immediately
Sat, Feb 3, 2018
Sat, Feb 3, 2018
- Editorial: Justice Holness Acting Beyond His Competence
- Patterson Tells Holness To Reconsider Acting Chief Justice, Wary Of Constitutional Crisis
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”.
- PM Urged to ‘Move with Haste’ to Confirm Sykes as Chief Justice
- Mark Wignall: Acting or Full-Time, Justice is Messed Up
- ‘Yes men and lackeys’ – Knight Says Some Lack Guts to Tell PM He is Wrong in Acting Chief Justice Saga
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.
- Breaking News: Judges Meeting Over Appointment of Acting Chief Justice and Update: Courts Crippled
- Shadow Minister Urges Students to Pay Attention to ‘Botched’ Chief Justice Appointment
- Garth Rattray: Don’t Undermine Authority Figures
- Daniel Thwaites: Acting Up and Acting Out
- FULL STATEMENT: Judges Gravely Concerned About PM’s Comment on Acting Chief Justice
- Judges Send A Message – Emergency Marathon Meeting Grinds Justice System to a Halt
Thursday, March 1, 2018
Prime Minister Andrew Holness advises Governor General Sir Patrick Allen to appoint Justice Bryan Sykes as Jamaica’s chief justice.