Address by Prime Minister Andrew Holness
Installation Ceremony of Dr. Patricia Marshall Dunwell
as Custos Rotulorum for the parish of St. Andrew
August 18, 2016, Hope Gardens
Honourable Pearnel Charles
The Honourable Mrs. Justice Zalia Mcalla, Chief Justice of Jamaica
The Honourable Dr. Patricia Dunwell Custos of St. Andrew and Mr. Dunwell
Members of the clergy
Honourable Marlene Malahoo-Forte, Attorney General and Honorable Justice Forte Members of the Diplomatic Corp
Brigadier Rocky Meade, Deputy Chief of Defense Staff
Deputy Commissioner of Police Clifford Blake
Councilor Andrew Swaby, Deputy Mayor representing Kingston and St. Andrew Honourable Custodes and spouses
Justices of the Peace
Family and friends of Custos Dunwell
Members of the media
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen all
Custos Rotulorum is a Latin phrase for keeper of the roles. It is a civic post which is recognized in England where it originated and in Jamaica and traces back to fourteenth century England. The post is still very relevant today and plays a critical role in our development by assisting and maintaining law and order within our communities. The role was in fact enshrined in law in Jamaica in 2011 with the passing of the Custos Rotulorum Act and the Ministry of Justice has been emphasizing the value of Custodes and Justices of the Peace to the community and by extension Jamaica.
Jamaica needs to return to the peaceful and caring society that it once was and to do so we must build it in each and every community and the Custodes are a key part of the framework of rebuilding Jamaica as a peaceful, caring, loving, dignified society.
The Ministry of Justice is working closely with the Custodes and the JPs to encourage collaboration with the police and other stakeholders for the restoration of law and order in all communities. We recognize that it is a voluntary role and true reward is helping to create a better Jamaica where all our residents are able to enjoy what Jamaica has to offer. In order to empower and strengthen our Custodes and JPs to effectively carry out their roles the Ministry of Justice is currently undertaking training programmes in the areas of mediation, restorative justice and conflict resolution. The ministry is also taking steps in increasing the number of JPs across the island as we undoubtedly recognize their significance.
I welcome the appointment of Dr. Dunwell, a dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon since 1972, a significant year, and of course a well sort after international lecturer. As Custos Rotulorum for the parish of St. Andrew, I applaud Dr. Dunwell for continuously embracing the spirit of voluntarism to advance our country’s development. Through hard work, preparation, discipline, focus and motivation Jamaica can achieve much more than it is doing. Our athletes continue to shine in Rio and to show that we can when we our hearts and minds and energies together to achieve.
As part of her responsibilities in addition to acting as the representative of the Governor General, Dr. Dunwell will serve as chief magistrate for the parish and ensure that there are enough JPs to serve the petty session courts and communities throughout St. Andrew.
I know the work has already started and the JPs have welcomed Dr. Dunwell to the post. Dr. Dunwell is no stranger to service; she worked in the public service for nearly twenty years at the Kingston Public Hospital in the areas of internal medicine and dermatology. She has given back to the society in many ways including as chair of the training center for girls in Stony Hill, equipping young women with skills to survive on their own, past president of the catholic women’s league who tended to be marginalized and aged and as board member of the Stella Maris Foundation.
It is therefore fitting that she has been called to serve as Custos. I know Dr. Dunwell will provide the kind of leadership that will inspire the citizens to appreciate and harness their rich potential and make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business and I’ll add this to it, die in paradise.