JIS News

Custos of Trelawny, Roylan B. Barrett, will on National Heroes Day, October 20, be invested with the Commander of the Order of Distinction (CD) for service to the parish and the wider Jamaican society.Born to Mr. and Mrs. Howard Barrett in the capital town of Falmouth in 1939, Custos Barrett is the last of five children, which comprise two boys and three girls.
He received his early education at the Falmouth Elementary School, and then went on to Excelsior High in Kingston, where he was successful in the Senior Cambridge Examinations.
He was employed as a clerk at the Long Pond Sugar Estate in Clarks Town, and at the Criminal Division of the Resident Magistrate’s Court on Sutton Street, Kingston before being admitted to Lincoln’s Inn London in 1959 to study law. He was called to the Bar in 1964.
Even while qualified as a lawyer, Mr. Barrett had an interest in the insurance field and worked at the Ministry of Pensions and National Employer’s Mutual Insurance Company (NEM) in England, while sitting the preliminary and intermediate examinations in insurance.
“In 1965, I returned to Jamaica in the employment of NEM, while I continued to study, and the following year, I took the finals of the insurance examinations and was awarded an associateship of the Chartered Insurance Institute, which entitled me to use the letters A.C.I.I. behind my name”, Custos Barrett told JIS News, while pointing out that he was the first Jamaican to hold the dual qualifications of law and insurance, and the first to sit the finals of the insurance examinations in Jamaica.
Shortly after, he got married and fathered two children, and in 1967, under the advice of his father, Mr. Barrett left the insurance field to practise law in Falmouth. “I have been practising law here since then. Not many persons including small farmers could afford solicitors during that time and so I did a lot of those cases,” he informs.
Turning to his political life, Custos Barrett says he was first asked to represent the parish at the national level in 1970, but turned it down, “because I thought my family was too young”. In 1974, he entered representational politics and served as parish councillor until 1981.
Over the years, Mr. Barrett has served the parish with distinction. Among his credits are developing 42 hectares (107 acres) of land for the New Haven Heights housing development in Granville; founder and Chairman of the Falmouth Restoration Company, a non-profit organization for the restoration of the buildings in the town, was also appointed Justice of the Peace in 1979, and a Notary Public in 1988.
He was President of the Trelawny Cricket Association for five years; and is founder and first President of the Cornwall Bar Association. Mr. Barrett served as Chairman of the Long Pond Sugar Estates Limited from 1989 to 1993, and of the successor company, Long Pond Estates Limited, from 1993 to 1996.
Mr. Barrett was Chairman of the University of the West Indies (UWI) committee for the establishment for an education centre in western Jamaica; Chairman of Roy Barrett Development Company Limited; and Founder and Director of the Trelawny Investments Company, operators of the Albert George Shopping Centre in Falmouth.
It was in January 1992, that he was installed as Custos Rotulorum for the parish of Trelawny. He was the youngest serving Custos at that time.
In his call for other custodes to unite for peace and harmony, Custos Barrett says, “today, things have changed so much that we as custodes need to assist the citizens to find this illusive thing called justice”.
He adds that in a bid to uphold national peace, “the maintenance of law and order is everybody’s business, because without law and order, there will be chaos and nothing will work”.
Custos Barrett observes that it is also necessary that custodes make themselves more approachable and visible, and ensure that Justices of the Peace (JPs) become a part of neighbourhood watch groups, citizens associations and other community groups, in order to form links for volunteerism. Emphasizing that he is a firm believer in community life, Custos Barrett says, “the community of Falmouth raised me, and I am here to do what I can to help the community develop and prosper”.
He adds, “we want to build a parish that is based on mutual respect, because no man is an island, and so, in every community, there ought to be team- players, and we ought to be our brother’s keepers if all is to survive”.

Skip to content