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Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Honourable, Professor Kenneth Hall, has emphasized the critical roles which Custodes and Justices of the Peace play in the maintenance of law and order, and the constitutional way of life in the country. He also bemoaned the fact that very little was reported about the work being carried out in the areas of health, education and social development by persons holding such offices.
“As Governor-General, I have a strong sense of obligation to reaffirm the important role of Custodes in the constitutional structure of our country, and to articulate their continued relevance in 21st Century Jamaica,” he said.
Professor Hall was speaking yesterday (April 26) at his alma mater, Rusea’s High School in Hanover, the parish of his birth, as he began his islandwide tour.
An estimated 2,500 students, friends, family and well wishers gathered at the school to welcome Professor Hall and Mrs. Hall. The Governor-General also took the salute and inspected the parade of uniformed groups from within the parish.
Professor Hall said it was his intention to re-examine the roles of Custodes and Justices of the Peace, to make them more responsive to change and innovation.
He suggested that while these persons would maintain their traditional and constitutional roles, they should also be in the vanguard of the effort to uphold the democratic principles of the nation. According to the Governor-General, the tour, which should take him through all the parishes over the next couple of weeks, is aimed at renewing his appreciation for the country’s rich history, its beauty, the diversity of its terrain, the hope and aspirations of its people, and to draw attention to some of the possibilities that exist.
“It is also an opportunity for me to meet with the Custodes, who represent me in the parishes; as well as Justices of the Peace, business people and citizens from all walks of life, to introduce myself, as I take up the mantle of the office of Governor-General of our country,” he told the gathering.
Professor Hall said that even in the face of its developmental shortfalls, the parish of Hanover has always maintained a fine tradition of excellence, with Rusea’s High School playing a significant role in the building of the parish’s social capital.
He said that the parish, with its strong tradition in tourism, played a key role in the early beginnings of the Villa concept of the trade, and in the development of resort properties. He added that the parish’s contribution to national leadership was far out of proportion to its size.
“You may not be aware that at one point, five Justices of the Supreme Court were from Hanover. This is a unique contribution,” he emphasized.
The Governor-General pleaded for unity among civic and representational leaders, as well as members of the wider community, and called for recognition and respect for the time-honoured structures within the communities to bolster development, as the residents strive to move the parish and the country into the 21st Century.
Mayor of Lucea, Councillor Lester Crooks and Member of Parliament for Western Hanover, Ralston Hanson, extended the welcome to the Governor-General and Mrs. Hall. Following his presentation, Professor Hall and his wife viewed the displays on exhibition at the Rusea’s Heritage Centre.