Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding, has said that legislation is being drafted to give legal authority to the functions of Custodes.
He made the announcement at the installation ceremony for the new Custos of St. James, Hon. Ewen George Corrodus, held yesterday (Sept. 16) at the West Jamaica Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists Auditorium in Mount Salem, St. James.
“The Government is of the view that it is necessary and it is good to prescribe in law, the functions and the authority of the Custodes. It is too important a position to be left without statutory authority, without a legal framework,” he stated.
According to the Prime Minister, the move is part of a larger effort by government to transform and strengthen the roles and functions of Custodes and Justices of the Peace (JPs).
He informed that already, JPs have been exposed to specialised training in law and legal issues, which will be intensified. The plan, he said, is to prepare JPs for “a mission and a charge to take the leadership role in helping to recreate the kind of structures and values that are necessary at the community level for the development of the country”.
Newly installed Custos for the parish of St. James, Hon. Ewen George Corrodus (2nd left), greets guests at a reception held on the lawns of the Rose Hall Great House after the installation ceremony yesterday (Sept. 16).
“It is a major challenge because the traditional leadership that holds our communities and our society together has been displaced by leadership of questionable value and sustainability, and therefore, we need to retake our communities,” he stated.
He argued that this role is best carried out by persons, who cut across political divisions and command the respect of the people in their communities, and who can help in rebuilding the deteriorated community leadership.
In congratulating Custos Corrodus, the Prime Minister said that the 67-year old Montego Bay businessman is “someone of impeccable character, unquestioned integrity and someone with a long record of service to the St. James community”.
He further expressed appreciation for the service, dedication and steadfastness with which the outgoing Custos, Hon. Clarence Nelson served the parish, until his recent retirement due to ill health.
Meanwhile, the newly installed Custos pledged to use this office to motivate and inspire citizens of St. James to get actively involved in the building of the parish and the nation.
“I have a dream of a parish that blazes a trail for the rest of Jamaica in growth production, crime reduction and value induction,” he stated.
Governor General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen (C) examines the Guard of Honour at the installation ceremony for Custos of St. James, Hon. Ewen George Corrodus, held yesterday (Sept. 16) at the West Jamaica Conference of Seventh Day Adventist Auditorium in Mount Salem.
He noted, however, that no level of success can be achieved without action, “and so I say to you today it is action time.”
He also called on JPs to become ambassadors for change and growth in their respective communities.
Custos Corrodus was installed by Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen and conferred with the Order of Distinction, Commander Class.
Others in attendance were Mrs. Lorna Golding; former Governor-General, Sir Howard Cooke; Members of Parliament; members of the police and military; Custodes from adjoining parishes; family, friends and well-wishers.