Jamaican PM: New Attorney General to Be Accountable Through Parliament
Above: Jamaican PM Portia Simpson Miller and Attorney General Patrick Atkinson, QC
By the Caribbean Journal staff
New Jamaican Attorney General Patrick Atkinson, QC will be fully accountable through Parliament, according to Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.
Simpson Miller was speaking at the swearing-in ceremony for Atkinson today at King’s House.
The Attorney General as an independent position is a relatively new phenomenon in Jamaica, created in response to findings by the Manatt-Dudus Commission of Enquiry earlier this year.
Previously, the same person had filled the positions of both Justice Minister and Attorney General. Senator Mark Golding is the recently-appointed Justice Minister.
“We believe that the Attorney General should be accountable to the Parliament,” she said. “We are also of the view that it is preferable if he or she sits in the House of Representatives with the other elected members.”
Simpson Miller said that had been the longstanding tradition in the United Kingdom, and that her government was “comfortable in following that tradition.”
Atkinson succeeds attorney Ransford Braham, who had served in the position since July, though not an MP.
Atkinson said he accepted the opportunity to “contribute to good governance and accountability to the people of Jamaica by giving good legal advice to the various government agencies.”
Atkinson won the election in the North Trelawny constituency on Dec. 29.