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Jamaica welcomed its first female Public Defender sworn in on January 16, 2015. Mrs. Arlene Harrison Henry was sworn in by Sir Patrick Allen ON, GCMG, CD,KSt.J Governor General of Jamaica at Kings House. Her appointment was effective January 19, 2015.
Mrs. Harrison Henry came to this office with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the law, practice of the law and Human Rights Advocacy. Her professional qualifications are:-
- B.Sc. Government (Upper Second Honours, U.W.I Mona)
- LL.B. (Upper Second Honours, U.W.I, Cave Hill, Barbados)
- Certificate of Legal Education (Norman Manley Law School)
She served as Deputy Clerk of the Courts, Clerk of Courts, Assistant Crown Counsel and Attorney-at-Law at the Private Bar.
Other activities of the Public Defender prior to her appointment included:
- Member of the Jamaica Bar Association
- Member of the Jamaica Council for Human Rights and Chairman of the Independent Jamaica Council for Human Rights
- Chairman of the Jamaica Bar Council (1997-2007)
- Secretary, American Association of Jurist (Jamaican Chapter)
- Vice President of the Jamaican Bar Association
- Member of the Consultative Committee of Bench and Bar
- Chairman of the independent Jamaican Council for Human Rights
- Member – Police Civilian Oversight Authority
- Member of the Resident Magistrates’ Court Rules Committee
- Member of the Police Service Commission
- Director and Company Secretary of the Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learning (Ministerial Appointment)
The Public Defender’s hobbies and interests are:
- Listening to music particularly oldies and the occasional night at Waterfalls
- Hobby farming in orchid and fruit trees
Mrs. Arlene Harrison Henry, Public Defender of Jamaica is guided by her personal philosophy: All persons are equal before God and the Law, no one is above the Law and no one beneath the Law.