KINGSTON, Jamaica September 15, 2022 - Former Chief of Defence Staff of the Jamaica Defence Force, Lieutenant General Rocky Ricardo Meade, has declined the offer from Prime Minister Holness for him to become Cabinet Secretary.
In a statement today, General Meade said "the current public discourse does not provide a sufficiently settled environment for the assumption of such a significant office and I will therefore seek His Excellencies’ understanding of my decision to decline."
the former Chief of Defence Staff explained that "I was advised by the Office of the Cabinet that I would receive a letter of appointment, from His Excellency the Governor General, through the Office of the Services Commission, for the post of Cabinet Secretary on the recommendation of the Prime Minister with input from the Public Services Commission."
He pointed out that "After almost four decades of service to the people of Jamaica, I was convinced to continue to serve and had initially indicated my intention to accept the offer."
However, he said as a result of the intense public surrounding his appointment, "the public discourse does not provide a sufficiently settled environment for the assumption of such a significant office."
The Office of the Prime Minister had announced that Meade would succeed Ambassador Douglas Saunders, who will be stepping down from the position on October 1. Saunders has been cabinet secretary and head of the public service since 2008.
The OPM release had reported Prime Minister Andrew Holness as saying, "Meade's years of experience in Government will be an asset to the public service and a crucial part of our continued thrust toward efficiency and service excellence."
The release also quoted Meade, who retired from the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) in January 2022, as saying he was "humbled and honoured to be considered for this critical role" and pledged "to further the positive evolution of the public service for the benefit of the wider society".
There was concern that the offer to Meade may have been unconstitutional because, as a member of the military, Meade was not a member of the public service. It is said that the army is not formally considered to be part of the public service.
Consequently, with the Cabinet secretary role being constitutionally required to be held by a serving or former member of the public service, it has been contended that Meade is not eligible to take up the position unless he is appointed to the public service and then as Cabinet Secretary.