Patterson Warns Holness of Possible Constitutional Crisis

Former Prime Minister, PJ Patterson, says a legal challenge to Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ appointment of Justice Bryan Sykes as Acting Chief Justice, could result in a constitutional crisis.

The former Prime Minister says the reference to ‘vacancy’ in section 99 of the Constitution isn’t synonymous with the situation with which we are now faced.

That is where the government knew months in advance that the former Chief Justice was about to retire. He says ‘vacancy’ was referring to situations where for example the incumbent died and the other person to be appointed was abroad. But Mr. Patterson says even such cases could be challenged legally. He says that’s among the reasons why Jamaica has never had an acting Chief Justice.

In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness has doubled down on his decision and is also asking the senior jurist to prove himself before he can be fully confirmed as Chief Justice. But Mr. Patterson says one should not attempt to defend actions not justifiable by well-reasoned arguments.