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Distinguished hotelier and educator, Jeffrey Lorenzo McKitty, is the new Custos Rotulorum for the parish of St. Mary.

Mr. McKitty was presented with the Grand Commission, appointing him to the position, by Governor-General, His Excellency, the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, during an installation ceremony at the Claude Stuart Park in the parish’s capital, Port Maria, on February 28.

The new Custos was also conferred with the Order of Distinction, Commander Class (CD) by the Governor-General. He was previously awarded the Order of Distinction, Officer Class (OD). The Governor-General also presented Mr. McKitty with the Magistrates’ Roll for St. Mary.

Mr. McKitty succeeds notable agriculturalist, Hon. Alrick ‘Bobby’ Pottinger, who retired as Custos in December 2012, after serving for 18 years.

The new Custos performed his first official duty during the ceremony, when he presided over the administration of the Oath/Solemn Declaration and Affirmation of Allegiance for St. Mary’s Justices of the Peace.

Minister without Portfolio, in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, who represented Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, headed the dignitaries and other guests attending the ceremony.

Others in attendance included: Chief Justice, Hon. Zaila McCalla; Assistant Commissioner of Police, Ealan Powell, who represented Police Commissioner, Owen Ellington; and Port Maria’s Mayor, Councillor Levan Freeman.

In his charge to Mr. McKitty, the Governor-General urged him to effectively execute his duties to St. Mary’s benefit.

“I urge you to seek and utilise good advice and to be open to adopting the best practices for the conduct of your role. I ask you to continue to give of your best in the mission which all of us must embrace, to make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise our families and do business,” he said.

The Governor-General also urged the Justices of the Peace and other residents to “support your Custos, as he seeks to carry out his duties on the service to all people of St. Mary.”

He also thanked Mr. Pottinger for his services, noting that “he gave good leadership towards the attainment of the parish’s objectives.”

“His understanding and appreciation of the culture of St. Mary enabled him to garner support for his undertakings. I believe that all of us recognise the passion and high standards which guided his service to this parish,’ he added.

In his reply, Mr. McKitty described his appointment as “gratifying,” pointing out that he was “humbled” by the honour bestowed on him, “because I am acutely aware of its awesome responsibilities.”

“As I accept this new position and its attendant responsibilities, I wish to thank (the Governor-General) most sincerely for affording me the opportunity to serve my parish and nation, at this level,” he said.

He also thanked Mr. Pottinger, pointing out that “words cannot adequately express our appreciation for your unflagging, selfless (and) altruistic efforts for the advancement of our beloved parish.”

Dr. Guy, in his address, also conveyed congratulations to Mr. McKitty, and expressed gratitude to Mr. Pottinger for his years of service.

He noted that Mr. McKitty’s appointment comes at a time when more is being demanded of the nation’s leaders by the citizens, and underscored the need for consensus and collaboration among all stakeholders to ensure that national developmental objectives are achieved.

Dr. Guy cited Mr. McKitty’s contribution to St. Mary’s development as an example of what can be achieved through collaboration and voluntarism.

“He has been a model of professionalism, dedication to duty…and (portraying) respectful treatment of persons from all walks of life. This represents the standard for all persons, especially those in public life, that we expect to uphold. (The) example of this new Custos is one which I expect to inspire, not only the Justices of the Peace in the parish, but all who are exposed to his leadership and his influence,” the Minister said.