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Rocky Meade Commended For Declining Cabinet Secretary Post

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Rocky Meade Commended For Declining Cabinet Secretary Post

  Former army chief Lieutenant General Rocky Meade is receiving commendation for declining the post of Cabinet Secretary.   His selection had sparked debate about the appropriateness of the appointment based on provisions of the Constitution.   Just 48 hours after news came of his appointment, General Meade issued a statement on Thursday night in which he disclosed that he declined the offer.    In his statement, General Meade revealed that he had been invited by the Public Services Commission to be considered for the post while still a serving officer.   However, he said the public discourse regarding his selection “did not provide a sufficiently settled environment” to assume the post.   In an interview with Radio Jamaica News on Friday, Professor Trevor Munroe, Principal Director of National Integrity Action, commended General Meade for declining the appointment.    Professor Munroe said he is concerned about what was a clear breach of the Constitution in the offer to the former army chief, saying it would have been in poor taste to have the person leading the public service be subjected to a constitutional challenge and “that level of controversy”.    The NIA Principal Director said he hopes the new recommendation will be “beyond question”.    Helene Davis Whyte, President of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU), has also suggested that General Meade‘s decision “is to be respected” as it has averted a major controversy.    She told Radio Jamaica News that the government must now “make sure it does the right thing by following the correct procedure” so that the new candidate “at least meets the particular standard”.    The Constitution requires that the person appointed to the post of Cabinet Secretary is someone who has served in a public office.    However, Mrs Davis Whyte pointed out that in the case of General Meade, the retired army chief “should be seen as an ‘ordinary’ Jamaican citizen and therefore, would not, under the Constitution, be eligible for appointment”.   Former Solicitor General of Jamaica Michael Hylton agreed, explaining that it is “fairly clear” that the Constitution does not consider members of the Jamaica Defence Force to be public officers, unlike members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.