In its editorial today, the Gleaner said the prime minister’s “mangled interpretation of the Constitution makes a mockery of his assumption of the role of ‘Justice’ Holness… and has has revealed his tone-deafness in the face of unchallengeable legal wisdom.”
The Gleaner’s Editorial comes on the heels of yesterday’s public tongue lashing of the prime minister by the Jamaica Council of Churches for appointing Justice Brian Sykes as acting Chief Justice. The JCC cautioned Holness "against a cavalier dismissal of the tenets of precedence and tradition which form the bedrock of any stable society."
The influential church body said it was “seized of the importance of this critical office, enshrined in the constitution of Jamaica as one of the safeguards to protect the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary.”
The Gleaner pointed to the immaterial nature of Holness’ intransigence, which it said was “centred on the claim that he had never had contact with the previous chief justice Zaila McCalla, nor with the current acting holder, Justice Sykes.”
“With a clear vacancy, he does not have the legal right to appoint a judge on probation nor does he have the authority to supervise or assess his/her work,” said the editorial, a point that was emphasized yesterday by the Jamaica Council of Churches.
“What is dangerous and scandalous is that ‘Justice’ Holness is unrepentant on this score,” the Gleaner said.
The Gleaner recalled Holness’ “attempted hijack of the Constitution when he arranged for his then opposition senators to pre-sign resignation letters, a plot which almost buried the hand that crafted it on behalf of ‘Justice’ Holness.”
“Christopher Tufton and Arthur Williams were jettisoned by Justice Holness, coincidentally after casting their lots with Audley Shaw in a bitter internal leadership squabble that fractured the Labour Party. But Arthur Williams, who admitted to drafting the execution orders, including his own, refused to turn tail. He pursued legal proceedings against Mr Holness, and the Supreme Court upheld that Lettergate was unconstitutional,” the Gleaner lamented.
Noting that Holness has sought to arrogate unto himself “powers that do not reside within the radius of his prime ministerial authority,” the Gleaner said it was persuaded that Justice Sykes' track record has vindicated his selection, but
the prime minister’s “action and stone-faced resistance to sensible counsel has placed the acting chief justice in an invidious position, where his judgments may not carry the full weight of public confidence in an atmosphere of rank politicking.”
“Instead of infringing on the justice system, we suggest that the prime minister try to run his own house before trespassing on others,” the Gleaner editorial concluded.
- Countries: Jamaica