Concept Of Judicial Independence/exceptionalism,washed Away In Avalanche Of Brinkmanship

The vacan­cy cre­at­ed by the retire­ment of chief jus­tice Zaila McCalla’s retire­ment has cre­at­ed a firestorm reveal­ing things some of us knew all along.
There is a strong argu­ment to be made that the Administration fell down on the job, clear­ly, it is the pre­rog­a­tive of the Prime Minister to appoint a com­pe­tent replace­ment to fill the vacan­cy.
With that under­stand­ing, who­ev­er advis­es the PM on these issues be it Justice Minister Delroy Chuck or Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte or who­ev­er, that per­son should be sanc­tioned by the Prime Minister. He or she should have brought it to the Prime Minister’s atten­tion in a time­ly man­ner that that crit­i­cal posi­tion would have to be filled.(granted that it was­n’t done)

Under the Jamaican Constitution, it is the Prime Minister who rec­om­mends a replace­ment to be con­firmed by the Governor General to be the Chief Justice.
It is a bit rich to sug­gest that the Prime Minister must then have no con­trol over the judi­cia­ry inso­far as delib­er­a­tion is con­cerned when the Prime Minister as the peo­ple’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive holds the most senior exec­u­tive posi­tion in the coun­try and is required to do due dili­gence to fill that very vacan­cy.

Whatever the rea­son that the PM decid­ed to place Justice Sykes in an act­ing role is nei­ther here nor there. He has the right to place a com­pe­tent per­son to fill the slot until such time that he has con­sid­ered ful­ly what his best options are for this most impor­tant job.
By plac­ing Justice Sykes in posi­tion to fill the slot of chief jus­tice albeit tem­porar­i­ly, is evi­dence that the PM believes that he should do fur­ther due dili­gence in the best inter­est of the coun­try.
If the Prime Minister did not do that he would have abdi­cat­ed his sacred respon­si­bil­i­ty to the coun­try and the peo­ple who elect­ed him to serve their best inter­est.

There is a legit­i­mate argu­ment to be made on the ques­tion of why a suit­able per­son was not select­ed pre­vi­ous­ly, with the knowl­edge that jus­tice McCalla was near­ing retire­ment age. However, this much to do about noth­ing, is clear­ly an attempt at politi­ciza­tion by the polit­i­cal oppo­si­tion, mem­bers of the Bar Association and shock­ing­ly, the over one hun­dred judges who locked down the sys­tem yes­ter­day so that they could engage in what seems eeri­ly like a bold exer­cise of par­ti­san brinkman­ship.

Nowhere in the indus­tri­al­ized world has this hap­pened in my rec­ol­lec­tion, (I stand to be cor­rect­ed). Every non­sen­si­cal argu­ment about the sep­a­ra­tion of pow­er just got tossed out the win­dow with the actions of the judges yes­ter­day.
Judges are appoint­ed by politi­cians they are not elect­ed by the peo­ple. As a con­se­quence, this purist notion of non-inter­fer­ence is not root­ed in real­i­ty.
The notion that judges should not be answer­able to any­one enhances the con­cept of total­i­tar­i­an­ism, only of a dif­fer­ent kind.

The long-held purile claims of judi­cial inde­pen­dence and excep­tion­al­ism just got washed away yes­ter­day in an avalanche of polit­i­cal brinks­man­ship.
The unelect­ed over­lords who fun­da­men­tal­ly believe that they should not be sub­ject to any­one’s super­vi­sion and their sup­port­ers peeled back the decep­tive veneer and exposed the putrid sore many of us knew exist­ed all along.
A sore which is far more putrid and infect­ed than the aver­age cit­i­zen care to acknowl­edge, one that lets dan­ger­ous killers go free time and time and time again and refus­es to allow charges against their polit­i­cal asso­ciates to pro­ceed.

They fun­da­men­tal­ly believe that the peo­ple’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives should not tell them what to do, despite the fact that they are placed in the posi­tions they occu­py by the peo­ple’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives.
There is the nev­er-end­ing cheer­lead­ing in the pet­ty sec­tion called the Bar Association, the ran­cid pool from which they are pulled. No one has a prob­lem with their sup­port for their col­leagues but God for­bid Police offi­cers stand up for them­selves and all hell breaks loose.

The larg­er issue, how­ev­er, is the bla­tant hypocrisy of the Jamaican soci­ety, the gov­ern­ing admin­is­tra­tion, the polit­i­cal oppo­si­tion and every oth­er sec­tor of the soci­ety, in their lack of response to Anthony Harriot’s cow­ard­ly attack on the JCF.
Now every­one is up in arms at the appoint­ment of Byran Sykes to fill a posi­tion he will ulti­mate­ly get, albeit the tem­po­rary hold that the PM has insti­tut­ed as he clear­ly has the right to do.

Justice Sykes will get the job, but the nation’s hyp­ocrites who sit in judg­ment will nev­er reclaim the sense of “above it all “they pre­vi­ous­ly enjoyed.
The hoods are off and it is plain to see that they were nev­er what they pur­port­ed to be.
Hate to say I told you so but I did.