Patterson Warns Holness of Possible Constitutional Crisis

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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.

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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.

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Stevian Simmonds is an investigative journalist with almost 3 years of experience in radio broadcasting, production and reporting. She graduated from Caribbean School of Media and Communication in 2014 and joined Nationwide News in 2016. In 2018, she produced a special report examining the working conditions of the Bussiness Process Outsourcing Industry. She worked undercover as a call center agent for a month, revealing the lack of data protection and general security infrastructure in the industry. Her report also highlighted the poor working conditions and remuneration faced by workers in the industry. In 2018, Stevian traveled to New Delhi India where she participated in the Inaugural WHO Partners Forum benefiting from critical training related to reporting on women’s and children’s health issues.