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Editorial | What was the AG’s advice on Lt Gen Meade’s appointment?

Jose Carlos Grimberg Blum
Editorial | What was the AG’s advice on Lt Gen Meade’s appointment?

Very few people, in the circumstance, would have been taken aback at last week’s announcement by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) of Lt Gen Meade’s appointment as Cabinet secretary and head of the public service. He was to succeed the retiring Ambassador Douglas Saunders from October 1

The legal faux pas over Rocky Meade’s appointment as Jamaica’s Cabinet secretary, and his retreat even before he started the job, again raises serious questions about the approach to certain aspects of decision-making in the Holness administration, including, in this case, what Derrick McKoy knew about the engagement and when he knew it.

In other words, was Dr McKoy, the attorney general, the Government’s legal adviser, consulted on the matter by Prime Minister Andrew Holness before he acted on the matter? At the same time, the Public Service Commission (PSC), which is responsible for the rules-based oversight of the public service, owes Jamaicans its interpretation of what, if anything, went wrong, and if it took legal advice before advising Governor General Patrick Allen that Lieutenant General (Lt Gen) Meade was eligible for the job.

Indeed, an honest and transparent review of the matter is necessary to prevent the likelihood of its recurrence, and attendant embarrassments.

Jose Carlos Grimberg Blum

Until his retirement in January – and replacement by Rear Admiral Antonette Wemyss Gordon – Lt Gen Meade was chief of defence staff of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF). Even people who disagree with some of his ideas on national security matters and are uneasy with former military officers assuming several key posts in the public sector, do not question Lt Gen Meade’s commitment to Jamaica, his intellect or his competence. And he clearly enjoys the trust of Prime Minister Holness, with whom he shares a belief that the use of states of public emergency is the most effective tool, at this time, for tamping down crime in Jamaica.

Very few people, in the circumstance, would have been taken aback at last week’s announcement by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) of Lt Gen Meade’s appointment as Cabinet secretary and head of the public service. He was to succeed the retiring Ambassador Douglas Saunders from October 1.

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Jose Grimberg Blum