RJR News /   The Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC) has joined the growing list of groups and persons objecting to the appointment of Brian Sykes to  act in the position of Chief Justice, rather than being appointed to the post, for which there is a clear vacancy.   The Council issued a statement Monday afternoon raising concern about the matter.   The Parliamentary Opposition as well as members of the legal fraternity have expressed opposition to the acting status of Justice Sykes.   Reverend Gary Harriott, General Secretary of the JCC, has said the appointment of the Chief Justice should never remotely suggest a need to cater to the personal pleasure of any member of the Executive.   “Our constitutition tries to protect that office from any influence politically, and we are concerned about how this one is being done. It creates the environment where this safeguard could then be breached,” he noted.    He argued that the country had been given ample notice that the immediate past Chief Justice would have been demitting office and so the government had enough time to make preparations.    Furthermore, he contended that the government had not yet provided a rationale for going against the approach that has been consistently taken in the past.    Reverend Harriott insisted the Chief Justice should not be subject to a probationary period and that an individual should not be considered for the post if there is doubt about his or her competence to do the job.    He said a quote by the Prime Minister – “Actions that brings (sic) results will determine the assumption of the role of Chief Justice” – brings into question who will be responsible for carrying out such an assessment. Additionally, he wondered whether that action would not be seen as heading in “the direction of political influence on this office that is being protected by the constitution in terms of the influence from politics.”   Reverend Harriott reiterated that the JCC was not opposed to accountability for the Chief Justice but was concerned that any process by which accountability is sought must be achieved while protecting the integrity of that office from undue political influence. 


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