RJR News / The Jamaican Bar Association (JamBar) has suggested that Prime Minister Andrew Holness could face a challenge in removing Justice Bryan Sykes as Acting Chief Justice if he is not satisfied with his performance, since the acting appointment may against the constitution. Mr Holness has said that he expects results from the Chief Justice which will determine his full appointment. The unprecedented move has been interpreted by some as indirect interference in the Judiciary, but Mr. Holness has denied this. Speaking on TVJ’s Smile Jamaica on Thursday morning, Jacqueline Cummings, President of the Jamaican Bar Association, noted that any contract that goes against the constitution would be considered null and void. She cited an example from Grenada where a Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had been appointed on a two year contract. The government did not renew the contract when the two years ended and the matter was challenged by the country’s Bar Association, which argued that “you cannot contract out the terms of the constitution,” she said. “The constitution says when you appoint these persons, they are appointed for life, until they resign or are removed by the constitutional provisions…so it does not matter what Justice Sykes and the Prime Minister agreed, the constitution says what is the procedure,” she explained. Ms Cummings asserted that the action of the Prime Minister is unlawful and as such, the Bar Association has been lobbying “to advise the Prime Minister to get the legal advice that he requires to show that his actions and his requirements of the Chief Justice in an acting position is wrong (sic) and that he needs to regularise it.” In the meantime, Ms Cummings said the Prime Minister should provide the necessary resources to the Acting Chief Justice for him to adequately carry out his duties. She argued that only one per cent of the government’s budget is allocated to the Ministry of Justice, and the Chief Justice only gets a portion of that one per cent to function.
JAMAICA: JamBar Suggests Acting Chief Justice Appointment May Be Unconstitutional
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