Wed | Feb 24, 2021

Justice system empowered by strength of women

Published:Friday | January 8, 2021 | 12:10 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer
Yesterday, ten members of the judiciary, nine of whom are females, were sworn in by His Excellency, Governor General Sir Patrick Allen at Kings House. Pictured are: Justice Patrick Brooks (left), president of the Court of Appeal; and Chief Justice Bryan Sykes (right), along with the newly appointed members of the justice system – from second left, front row: Justice Vivene Harris, Judge of Appeal; Stephany Orr, Acting Master-in-Chambers; Tara Carr, Acting Puisne Judge; and Carole Barnaby, Puisne Judge. In second row, from left: Annmarie Lawrence-Grainger, Acting Puisne Judge; Master Pamela Mason, Acting Puisne Judge; Vaughn Smith, Acting Puisne Judge; Sherna Reid-Clayton, Acting Master-in-Chambers; Icolin Reid, Acting Puisne Judge; and Kamar Anderson, Master-in-Chambers.

Ten members of the judiciary, nine of whom are females, were yesterday appointed to serve at higher levels within Jamaica’s justice system.

Appointed were Vivene Harris, who will serve as Judge of Appeal, effective January 11; Carole Barnaby, who has been appointed Puisne Judge; while Icolin Reid, Vaughn Smith and Tara Carr have been appointed as Acting Puisne Judges, effective January 7.

Pamela Mason and Ann-Marie Lawrence-Granger will act as Puisne Judges, effective January 7 until March 26, 2021.

Also taking the Oath of Office were Kamar Henry-Anderson, who has been appointed Master-in-Chambers; and Stephany Orr and Sherna Reid-Clayton as Acting Masters-in-Chambers. Their appointments took effect on January 7.

Following the swearing-in by Governor General, His Excellency the Most Hon Sir Patrick Allen at King’s House, he urged Jamaicans to support the development of the judicial system as they make excellence their watchword and justice the framework of the sustainable future to which the country is committed.

President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Patrick Brooks, shared that he has watched most of the appointees take their early steps in the profession and now they have matured into confident judicial officers.

“Your Excellency, they have demonstrated in their careers, thus far, the integrity which you spoke about earlier, that is required of judges, and I assure you that the future of the judiciary looks bright and bearing in mind the gender of most of its members, decidedly beautiful,” Brooks remarked.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice Bryan Sykes thanked the judges for making themselves available to serve and for their families and friends who have provided them with the sustenance and the renewal of faith and strength when they get despondent.

Responding on behalf of the judges, Vivene Harris thanked the members of the Judicial Services Commission for the confidence they have reposed in them.

She offered special congratulations to her Westwood High schoolmate Carole Barnaby, as well as Icolin Reid, who was her clerk of courts when she was the resident magistrate for Trelawny.

“Even in these unprecedented and unpredictable times, we the members of the judiciary must prevail and carry on with our core business of dispensing justice and meeting our mandate of providing sound, timely judgments and efficient court services to the people of Jamaica whom we serve,” Harris said.

She added that the courts must be given the opportunity to take advantage of the latest developments in technology, so that the quality and delivery of services are significantly enhanced.

“Technology serves to modernise the courts by impacting the way we work, transmit, store and retrieve data and making justice more accessible, transparent, as well as less costly. Ease of access to justice promotes public trust and confidence in the administration of justice, which is at the very core of the functioning of the court,” Harris said, adding that while it will be very costly, it is absolutely essential.