Woman of sub­stance

Donna Parch­ment Brown

Jamaica Gleaner - - FLAIR PROFILE -

AL­MOST ONE year ago, on Novem­ber 16, Ja­maica’s Gover­nor Gen­eral Sir Patrick Allen ap­pointed Donna Parch­ment Brown as the Political Om­buds­man. For­mer Cus­tos Ro­tu­lo­rum for the Parish of St Andrew, the woman from the Bread­bas­ket Parish was well equipped for the task ahead.

The first child of Rosetta and J.H.D. Parch­ment, the jour­ney of pub­lic speak­ing, lead­er­ship and vol­un­teerism be­gan at Hamp­ton School. Her tal­ent blos­somed as she be­came a part of the School’s Chal­lenge Quiz team and later head girl.

Fresh from high school, with an at­ti­tude to ex­cel, Parch­ment Brown moved to Kingston and en­rolled at the Univer­sity of the West In­dies. She stud­ied gov­ern­ment, trans­ferred to law, com­pleted her le­gal train­ing at the Nor­man Man­ley Law School and was called to the Bar in 1981. Her quest for knowl­edge grew and she ben­e­fited from short train­ing cour­ses from Cap­i­tal Univer­sity Law and Grad­u­ate Cen­tre,

Fresh from high school, with an at­ti­tude to ex­cel, Parch­ment Brown moved to Kingston and en­rolled at the Univer­sity of the West In­dies.

Ket­ter­ing Foun­da­tion, East­ern Men­non­ite Univer­sity, Cam­bridge Univer­sity, and the School of advanced Le­gal Stud­ies.

In 1990, Parch­ment Brown was ap­pointed jus­tice of the peace and re­ceived the national award Or­der of Dis­tinc­tion Com­man­der Class in 2004. As her ca­reer advanced, she worked with dis­tin­guished firms such as Mil­hol­land, Ashen­heim and Stone, The Prices Com­mis­sion, The Gen­eral Le­gal Coun­cil, City of Kingston Co­op­er­a­tive Credit Union Lim­ited, the Dis­pute Res­o­lu­tion Foun­da­tion, and suc­ces­sor of the Me­di­a­tion Coun­cil of Ja­maica.

With the prayer of Jabez – ev­ery­thing we do shall blos­som at its time and bear fruit at its sea­son – held close to her heart, Parch­ment Brown, who is cur­rently the di­rec­tor of the Jus­tice Re­form Im­ple­men­ta­tion Unit of the Min­istry of Jus­tice, strives to ful­fil the com­mit­ments made as political om­buds­man “to help political can­di­dates to ful­fil their in­di­vid­ual and or­gan­i­sa­tional as­pi­ra­tions through ad­her­ence of law and rules of en­gage­ment to which they will give their pledge.

“I stand ready to be an advocate, me­di­a­tor and ar­bi­tra­tor for safe con­duct of Ja­maica’s elec­tions and to pro­mote as far as pos­si­ble the re­spect­ful pos­i­tive pre­sen­ta­tion of the can­di­dates to Ja­maica.”

In a con­ver­sa­tion with Flair as she re­flected on the past year, Parch­ment Brown was grate­ful for a num­ber of things. “I came into an of­fice that de­spite not hav­ing an om­buds­man for at least a year, the staff was well equipped and able to bring me up to speed in time for the up­com­ing elec­tions. I also learned from the past om­buds­man Herro Blair, and that has helped me tremen­dously in set­tling prob­lems swiftly and ef­fi­ciently.”

As om­buds­man, Parch­ment Brown has also em­barked on bring­ing aware­ness to the pub­lic of her du­ties, and con­tin­ues to rep­re­sent the pub­lic in the political arena by be­ing their voice – a job she thor­oughly en­joys.

Not only does she find her post re­ward­ing but also af­firm­ing. “Quite of­ten, I run into mem­bers of the pub­lic at the su­per­mar­ket, hair sa­lon, etc, who say they are ‘pleased with the work I did at x’ or ‘thanks for tak­ing care of the sit­u­a­tion in y’; and that en­cour­ages me a whole lot. It means not only are they aware of the of­fice, but of the work I am do­ing.” She con­tin­ued: “As such, I have to keep the laws and codes in hand at all times.”

Now that the lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions are pend­ing, Parch­ment Brown has her hands full. But as soon as that is over, she will con­tinue to raise aware­ness, and one spe­cific way is through a tour of in­sti­tu­tions with ‘Con­ver­sa­tions with young Ja­maicans’ that high­light the stan­dards of pol­i­tics and gives the youth a medium to share their views, among other things. “I hope to, in Jan­uary, be able to do a few one-minute YouTube videos highlights.”

An avid believer in Ja­maica and her peo­ple, the wife of in­struc­tor Clif­ford Brown has pro­vided ad­vice and train­ing through­out CARICOM, ju­di­cia­ries, civil so­ci­ety; worked with Kingston Restora­tive Com­pany, RISE Life Man­age­ment, Ja­maicans For Jus­tice, Youth Op­por­tu­ni­ties Un­lim­ited, and is looking for­ward to con­tin­u­ously serv­ing her coun­try.

“Quite of­ten, I run into mem­bers of the pub­lic at the su­per­mar­ket, hair sa­lon, etc, who say they are ‘pleased with the work I did at x’ or ‘thanks for tak­ing care of the sit­u­a­tion in y’; and that en­cour­ages me a whole lot.”

JERMAINE BARN­ABY/PHOTOGRAPHER

Rosetta Parch­ment (right) plants a kiss on her daugh­ter’s cheek, Donna Parch­ment Brown, fol­low­ing her Swear­ing-in as Political Om­buds­man at King’s House on Monday, Novem­ber 16, 2015.

PARCH­MENT

JERMAINE BARN­ABY/ PHOTOGRAPHER

Donna Parch­ment Brown with the procla­ma­tion she re­ceived from Gover­nor Gen­eral Sir Patrick Allen dur­ing her swear­ing-in cer­e­mony as Political Om­buds­man of Ja­maica at King’s House on Monday, Novem­ber 16, 2015.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Jamaica

© PressReader. All rights reserved.