KINGSTON — Newly-appointed Attorney General, Hon. Ransford Braham, was on August 8 officially sworn into office by Deputy Governor-General, Hon. Steadman Fuller, during a ceremony at King’s House.
Mr. Fuller congratulated the veteran Attorney-at-Law on his appointment, noting that the selection was an “expression of confidence” in his ability to guide the affairs of that office, given the manner in which he has acquitted himself so far in the legal profession.
“Please be assured of the support of the Office of the Governor-General in your efforts to discharge your responsibilities faithfully, truthfully and with professionalism. I wish you success in all endeavours to serve this country as a proud Jamaican,” he stated.
Mr. Braham’s appointment is in line with recommendations coming out of the Manatt Commission of Enquiry for the separation of the offices of Attorney General and Minister of Justice. Following a recent reshuffling of Cabinet, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Delroy Chuck, was sworn into office as Minister of Justice.
Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, in welcoming Mr. Braham, said his appointment represented a “significant departure” as he will serve as the Government’s principal legal advisor without being a member of the Cabinet or having any political connection to the current administration.
“We have had…Attorneys General, on two occasions since Independence, who were not members of the Cabinet, but they had fair known political links to the government of the day,” he noted.
Mr. Golding said that Attorneys General of the past have had to confront the issue of ensuring the purity of the legal advice that is given, while, at the same time, recognising the collective responsibility they have as members of the Cabinet.
“In my view there was an inherent conflict there, because as a member of the Cabinet the Attorney General would have to accept responsibility for the decisions of the Cabinet. But the question as to whether or not those decisions were fully consistent with the advice and opinion provided by the Attorney General is a question that will always be subject to speculation,” he stated.
Mr. Golding said the Government believed that it was necessary to deviate from that practise and “whether or not it is something that will be retained by Governments in the future is left to be seen”.
He noted that Mr. Braham will be expected and is required to attend all Cabinet meetings.
Mr. Braham was admitted to practise law in Jamaica in 1988. He holds a Bachelor of Laws degree with honours from the University of the West Indies and comes to the job with a wide range of experience in many areas of law, having conducted litigation in all courts, including the Court of Appeal and the Privy Council.
He is a member of the General Legal Council, the Jamaican Bar Association and an associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
By ATHALIAH REYNOLDS, JIS Reporter