JUSTICE Mabel Agyemang, a Ghanian judge of the highest calibre, officially took up her post as Chief Justice of the Turks and Caicos Islands on April 1.
Joining her on the judicial bench this past Wednesday was former Chief Magistrate Tanya Lobban-Jackson.
Lobban-Jackson, a native of Jamaica, now serves as a judge of the Supreme Court.
The two were sworn in by Governor Nigel Dakin on Monday (March 30) at the Governor’s Office in Providenciales.
Commenting on the appointment via his Instagram page, Governor Dakin stated: “An enormous privilege to do this – under the strangest of circumstances – but we now have a top team at the top of the judiciary.
“And I can say that because the acting Chief Justice, Justice Shiraz Aziz, who will now work with the new Chief Justice and Judge Jackson, has been exemplary while acting in the top job.”
The governor said that with Justices Agyemang, Aziz and Lobban-Jackson on the Supreme Court bench, the TCI now has a strong team going forward, and an uplift from two to three judges.
Chief Justice Agyemang was chosen from a cadre of seven candidates who were interviewed by the Judicial Services Commission.
There were no applications from local candidates for the position of chief justice, which was advertised internationally.
She brings to the post an impressive portfolio having worked as a Superior Court Judge in three commonwealth jurisdictions – Ghana, Gambia and Swaziland.
Her role in Gambia is one of the more significant moments in her judicial career.
During her tenure as Chief Justice of Gambia from 2013 to 2014, Justice Agyeman stood up to an autocrat – one of Africa’s most notorious strongmen – Yahya Jammeh, whose 22 year rule only ended in 2017.
“Through integrity and courage, she attempted to protect the judiciary from an overarching executive,” Governor Dakin said in praise of her actions, earlier in February.
Meanwhile, Judge Lobban-Jackson is no stranger to the Supreme Court as she has filled in as judge on several occasions since her appointment to the TCI judiciary in 2016.
She brought with her 18 years of prosecutorial experience in the Jamaican and the Cayman Islands judiciaries – particularly in the Magistrate’s Court, Supreme Court and Court of Appeal of those two countries.
She is trained in the areas of child safeguarding, human trafficking, money laundering and case management.
Judge Lobban-Jackson has been appointed with tenure until she reaches the age of constitutional retirement.
The two appointments were made on the recommendation of the judicial services commission who advised the governor.
They are Justice Sir Michael Barnett, a former Chief Justice of the Bahamas and now a judge on the Appeal Court of the Bahamas, Justice Hilary Philips, president of the Court of Appeal of Jamaica, and Justice Zaila McCalla a former chief justice of Jamaica.
This article was first published by TC Weekly News.