New Custos Rotulorum for the parish of Westmoreland, Canon Hartley Perrin, has ascended to the high office with great vision and prospects for the parish and its citizens.
The Anglican Dean and Past President of the Westmoreland Lay Magistrates Association has an outstanding record of service in the parish, spanning more than 30 years, but feels that with his new position, he can make an even more significant impact.
As the Governor-General’s representative in Westmoreland, Canon Perrin has the awesome task of assisting in the maintenance of good order and discipline in the parish, and upholding the rule of law. He is also keeper of the roll of Justices of the Peace (JPs), with responsibility for leading the large contingent of lay magistrates, and ensuring that they are “steadfastly focused” on their duties.
The new Custos said that among his immediate tasks is to ensure that JPs and citizens are continuously trained in the understanding, acceptance and practice of the concept of dispute resolution.
He noted that it is “crucially important” to get more persons to accept the fact that more could be gained by sitting down to talk out a problem rather than by “fighting it out”.
Canon Perrin said he also intends to spearhead action that will bring unity and collaboration among the various civic organisations and groups; help showcase the parish’s rich heritage and history in tourism and agriculture; and ensure that citizens have ready access to their JPs.
He cautioned JPs against engaging in acts of corruption, pledging to stamp out the scourge where this exists, and build an enhance professionalism and integrity, as well as standards of excellence and honour.
He warned the JPs that they will be penalized if caught accepting money for services rendered. “I wish to state unequivocally that this Custos condemns any such practice and will initiate appropriate action to stamp out any such practice wherever they may exist in this parish. I therefore demand your full cooperation in this matter. A word to the wise is sufficient,” he stated.
Affectionately called ‘Father Perrin,’ the new Custos is regarded as the consummate community worker/servant, having impacted hundreds of lives in his home community of Petersfield and adjoining areas for over 30 years.
He was among seven residents recently hailed as local heroes for outstanding contributions to the development of the parish.
Canon Perrin, who was raised by a single mother, attended a private preparatory school where he gained a scholarship to Manning’s High School. At Mannings, he successfully passed his external examinations, which qualified him to work as a pre-trained teacher at Petersfield Primary and Infant School.
After four years at Petersfield, he decided to enter the priesthood and attended the United Theological College of the West Indies (UTCWI), where he underwent four years of intense preparations for his calling.
“That calling on my life is still very current, and I would not want to change to be anything else than what I am right now; a priest,” he said.
After graduating from the UTCWI in 1978, he was assigned to St. Mary’s Church in Kingston, before being posted to his parish, where he thought he would serve for no more than a “year or two”.
Thirty-four years and counting, Canon Perrin is still serving the people of his home parish, gaining their respect and support. “I have been enjoying the journey, and truly making inroads in transforming lives in my area of service,” he pointed out.
Since 1979, he has been Rector of the Petersfield/Darliston Cure, which consists of five churches. He has been called on to preach in the United States, Canada, Africa and the Caribbean.
The new Custos also chairs several school boards in Westmoreland, is president of the Lion’s Club of Savanna-la-Mar, station pastor for the Whithorn Police Station, vice-chairman of the Westmoreland Parish Health Committee, member of the Governor- General’s Committee for Excellence and chairman of the board of Clifton Boys’ Home.
He has received various awards for his service, including the the Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation for service to Jamaica in June 2003.
Looking back at what he has been able to accomplish, Canon Perrin feels satisfied that he has impacted countless lives, and has accomplished his mandate to serve his parishoners.
“I feel proud of my service to the people, especially when I see those whose lives I have been able to touch, both young and older ones, holding their own in society and making great contributions to the enhancement and empowerment of those around them, for me it is mission accomplished,” he told JIS News.
Looking ahead, he said that he has accepted the high office of Custos with sincere humility and great expectations. He is confident that God had plans for other avenues and opportunities where he could render service so that he can continue to make a positive contribution.