THE parish of St Mary has a new custos rotulorum. He is hotelier Jeffrey McKitty, who was sworn in on Monday in a ceremony at King's House.
McKitty replaces Alrick Pottinger, whose retirement became effective on December 31, last year.
Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, who presided over the brief ceremony, expressed confidence that the new custos would carry out his duties and responsibilities effectively.
He said that McKitty has been a very active Justice of the Peace (JP) in St Mary and had worked closely with Pottinger, acting many times in the former custos' absence, and had deputised for the governor general on one occasion.
The governor general also noted McKitty's involvement in a number of organisations and projects geared towards the development of the parish, pointing out that he continues to have the respect and support of the citizens of St Mary and the country in general.
"It was a pleasure working with you and Mrs Pottinger and I'm sure our collegiality and friendship and work will not come to an end at any time soon," the governor general said.
In his response, McKitty assured that he would continue to do his best to contribute to the development and growth of St Mary.
"I promise that I will do all within my power to continue the good name of St Mary and the legacy that Pottinger has left and to ensure that St Mary will not fade but will get stronger as the years go by," he pledged.
He said he was grateful to the Governor General and Mr Pottinger, as well as the people of St Mary for the confidence they have shown in him.
McKitty, who was born on November 11, 1943 in Westmoreland, began his working career as a teacher, then moved into the hotel industry, where he has worked unstintingly for 35 years, with 25 years at the level of general manager.
While living in St Mary, he has been actively involved in every aspect of community service, serving as chair of the St Mary Heritage Company Limited, the St Mary Attractions and Tours Company, the parish library, and the Oracabessa High School, where he helped to establish links to develop a new library and a fully furnished and equipped computer lab.
An active member of the Jamaica Agricultural Society, he was instrumental in soliciting sponsorship from the Sandals Group to host the St Mary Agri-Expo, which promotes links between agriculture and tourism. In addition, he is also the founder of a fathering programme, which assists boys from single parent homes.
McKitty also established a youth programme at Jack's River, where he supplied books and paid the tuition of several students. In addition, he adopted the Mason Hall Primary School where he built sanitary facilities for the students, and the Boscobel Basic and Primary Schools, where he established a school feeding programme. He was also instrumental in building a computer lab at Boscobel Primary School.
A dedicated family man, McKitty is married with two daughters and is the 2006 St Mary recipient of the Governor General's Achievement Award.