Appointing Sykes ‘Acting’ Chief Justice was “Madness” – Prominent Attorney

Attorney-at-law Lloyd McFarlane is describing the appointment of Brian Sykes to the position of Acting Chief Justice, as “madness”.

Mr. McFarlane says the Constitution doesn’t allow the Prime Minister to appoint someone to act in the highest judicial post, except in special circumstances.

He argues such a move goes against the separation of powers between the Executive and the Judiciary.

The attorney says what the Prime Minister has done circumvents the Constitutional requirement to consult the Leader of the Opposition in appointing a Chief Justice.

And, he says the Bar Association may choose to challenge the appointment in court.

Meanwhile, an eminent Jamaican jurist is also speaking out against the appointment of Brian Sykes to act in the role of Chief Justice until he “proves himself”.

Patrick Robinson currently serves as a Judge of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands.

He’s written a lengthy 7-point letter to the media condemning the move and asking the Prime Minister to immediately confirm Justice Sykes as Chief Justice.

He says the appointment, which is unprecedented in Jamaica, the Caribbean, and the Commonwealth, is “wholly unacceptable”.

He says it sends the impression of a lack of confidence in Justice Sykes, and not only disrespectful to him, but to the entire Judiciary.

Judge Robinson says it also suggests that Justice Sykes is being watched closely by the Prime Minister and that his appointment is susceptible to rescission at any time that the Government disapproves of the manner in which he discharges his judicial function.

He adds that it comes perilously close to being an interference with the independence of the Judiciary guaranteed by the Constitution.

And he says distinguished international Judges whom he’s consulted on the matter have expressed the view that the appointment of a person to act as Chief Justice until the Governor General is “further advised”could be challenged in the Courts.

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