- Noted St. Elizabeth community worker and humanitarian, Beryl Rochester, was sworn in as the new Custos Rotulorum for the parish on February 10.
- The Governor-General urged Mrs. Rochester to use her office to safeguard the procedures and processes by which JPs carry out their roles.
- As Custos, Mrs. Rochester will be the Governor-General’s representative in St. Elizabeth.
Noted St. Elizabeth community worker and humanitarian, Beryl Rochester, was sworn in as the new Custos Rotulorum for the parish on February 10, becoming the first woman in St. Elizabeth to hold that office.
Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, presided over the ceremony, which was held at King’s House in St. Andrew.
In his remarks, the Governor-General urged Mrs. Rochester to use her office to safeguard the procedures and processes by which Justices of the Peace (JPs) carry out their roles, while influencing development within the parish.
He encouraged her to execute her duties with wisdom, reminding her that residents look to their Custos, as the first citizen of the parish, for leadership and guidance without fear, favour or ill-will.
“Work with the various communities and interest groups to ensure that peace, justice, unity, voluntarism are the hallmarks of your parish,” he said.
Paying tribute to the outgoing and acting Custodes, the Governor-General praised them for the invaluable service and leadership they have rendered during their tenure.
He commended Mrs. Rochester on being the first female Custos for St. Elizabeth, and called on the residents to support her vision and efforts to create a better parish.
In her remarks, Mrs. Rochester said she is humbled and grateful for the trust and honour bestowed on her.
She pledged to strive to ensure that all the citizens of the parish are respected and treated equally, adding that she will also make every effort to emulate the sterling work of her predecessors.
“As I assume this office, I will be taking the early lessons and values learnt…such as honesty, hard work, fair-play, tolerance and loyalty. Through my service to God, my community and others, over the years, I have added the tempering qualities of humility and discipline. I will take them all,” she said.
Miss Beryl, as she is affectionately called, cares for the needy in her community. From her own resources, she contributes to the welfare of the poor, and travels many miles to ensure that medical, nutritional and social services are provided for the homeless and mentally challenged.
As Custos, she will be the Governor-General’s representative in St. Elizabeth. Among her responsibilities are serving as chief Lay Magistrate for the parish, and ensuring that there are sufficient JPs/Lay Magistrates to serve the petty session courts and communities.