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Hugh Faulkner, though worthy, will have to earn the public's trust


Friday, July 31, 2020

I wish to congratulate attorney-at-law Hugh Faulkner on his appointment as Jamaica's second commissioner of the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) upon the retirement from that post of the indefatigable Terrence Williams.

The details of Faulkner's resume attest to his suitability for the post; covering not only his years of sterling work as an attorney-at-law in Jamaica, but as a multiple board appointee in the public sector and director of the Legal Aid Council.

Given his years of service to Jamaica as a legal practitioner of merit, I expect that he, in the supervision of his team at INDECOM, will undertake impartial and robust investigations covering the actions by members of the security forces and their agents that causes death, injury, or the abuse of the citizenry. He will, no doubt, bring to the enterprise unbounded energy, infectious enthusiasm, and the hard work and dedication which the work of the commission will demand.

His will not be an easy job, judging by the decade-long, steel-cake like experience of his predecessor and first occupant of the post of commissioner. But he has what I consider to be two valuable attributes — a non-aggressive temperament, which is not to be confused with him being portrayed as a paper tiger; and a creative intellect, which was functionally displayed by the many invaluable ideas he brought to bear on the work of the Legal Aid Council.

His sojourn at the council saw him creatively linking its undertakings to established and emerging management theory and practice, through collaboration with critical stakeholders in the private and public sectors, making it a more effective instrument in our pursuit, as a society in the 21st century, for greater integrity in how we pursue justice for all. Much of this speaks to his commitment and undiminished interest in the development of the justice system in general in Jamaica.

As such, Faulkner's obvious intelligence, commitment, inquisitive mind, and problem-solving skills are among the assets that will prove critical to much of the difficult work that is before him. His success or failure will rest considerably on the commission's ability to fearlessly establish sustainable and fair justiciable sanctions against members of the security forces and their agents who breach the law and the constitution in the execution of their duties in what is proving to be an increasingly violent, unruly, and tribalised polity.

He is duty bound in his new position to prove himself as a leader who can court both the security forces and the citizenry in this environment, and still be able to inspire confidence in the public.

We should all wish him well in this endeavour.


Everton Pryce is a former educator and government advisor.