JIS News

Story Highlights

  • On March 13, 2014, the parish of St. Ann will have a new custos in the person of Norma Lorraine Olivia Rhoden-Walters.
  • Mrs. Walters is the wife of retired custos of the parish, Radcliffe O. Walters, who served in the position for 14 years before retiring in late 2013.
  • Mrs. Walters describes herself as a multifaceted, uncomplicated, family oriented person.

On March 13, 2014, the parish of St. Ann will have a new custos in the person of Norma Lorraine Olivia Rhoden-Walters.

Mrs. Walters is the wife of retired custos of the parish, Radcliffe O. Walters, who served in the position for 14 years before retiring in late 2013.

Her official swearing in ceremony is slated to take place on the grounds of the historic Seville Great House in St. Ann, with Governor General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, presiding over the event. The occasion itself will be historic, as this will be the first time in Jamaica’s history, that a wife will be taking over from her husband as custos of a parish.

Born in Kingston, young Norma Rhoden resided at 33 William Street, Spanish Town, St. Catherine, with two brothers and a sister. “My mother was a state registered nurse and my father an engineer at the time with the St. Catherine Parish Council.  He was the Superintendent of Roads and Works in the 1930s and 1940s,” she tells JIS News during a recent interview in St. Ann.

She points out however, that her mother originated from St. Ann, and so she claims roots to the parish in which she now resides and will be taking up duties as Custos.

Mrs. Walters describes herself as a multifaceted, uncomplicated, family oriented person.

Married since 1975, she mothered two children, Stanford and Neilia, both now fully grown. She became a Justice of the Peace (JP) in March 2011 and has always worked very closely with her husband during his tenure as custos of St. Ann. She is therefore very familiar with the requirements of that office.

But how prepared is she for the rigours of the office? Mrs. Walters believes that she is ready to take up the mantle.

“I have certainly been in training and certainly have been supportive (of my husband) over the years…so I have seen a lot of the rigours,” she responds.

She adds that she has been serving the people of the parish, in the background, as much as she could during the fourteen and a half years that her husband was custos, and has enjoyed doing so.

“So basically, I think I am prepared for the job,” she says, adding that she has also done a lot of other volunteer work with several organizations in the parish.

Mrs. Walters notes that the Jamaica has been built on volunteerism over the years, and for progress to be achieved, people need to understand that in a small country like ours, it should be mandatory to give back to society.

Her guiding philosophy over the years has been to give back to one’s community, to keep an umbilical link, keep focus and accept the responsibility to nurture, grow and love each other.

“I am a strong believer in family, because each community is built family by family, and if we have strong family values and family roots, we can make this into the country of choice to live, work and grow our families. I love my country endlessly,” she emphasizes.