No word from Granger on judicial appointments – Jagdeo

first_imgChancellor, CJ posts– throws cold water on prospect of reconsidering President’s nomineesDespite the need for the President and the Opposition Leader to consult before top judicial posts such as that of the Chief Justice and Chancellor can be filled, no contact has been made with Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo to set a date for a meeting.President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo during one of their meetingsThis was conveyed by Jagdeo during a recent press conference, where he was asked about the status of this process. While Jagdeo had previously said that the two sides were unlikely to meet before Local Government Elections (LGE), he revealed that overtures to set a date for the meeting after the elections have not even been made.In fact, Jagdeo said he has not heard anything from the President about the top judicial appointments since his public statement that the ball was in the Opposition Leader’s court. The last time the two did meet, which was last month, that meeting was intended to sort out the appointments of the Police and Public Service Commissions.“I have no contact with the gentleman. So I don’t know what his state of mind is or what he wants to do or what he doesn’t want to do. I do know, however, that the President outside of a public statement saying that the ball is now in Jagdeo’s court and that he doesn’t intend to withdraw his nominee, I’ve had no other contact outside of that,” Jagdeo said.When asked if he would be inclined to reconsider his rejection of Justices Kenneth Benjamin and Yonnette Cummings-Edwards for the respective Chancellor and Chief Justice positions, Jagdeo made it clear that he would not.Back in February, Jagdeo had rejected the two nominees for the posts. While the former President never stated his reasons publicly, there had been criticisms in the public domain of Justice Benjamin’s performance in Belize, where he served as the Chief Justice.The Guyana Bar Association had even passed a motion calling on Granger to confirm Cummings-Edwards and Justice Roxane George in the acting Chancellor and Chief Justice positions they currently hold.Acting appointmentsThere is a good reason for putting an end to acting appointments. Last year, former President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Sir Dennis Byron had zeroed in on the trend of persons being appointed to top positions in Guyana’s Judiciary but being forced to act for years while their confirmation remains in limbo.Byron, who was at the time addressing the Guyana Bar Association, had condemned the fact that since former Chancellor Desiree Bernard demitted office; an agreement has not been reached for the substantive appointment of a Chancellor.“This has brought us to the situation today where the number one and number two officials of the Guyana Judiciary have not been substantively appointed. This is a most unfortunate state of affairs,” the legal luminaire had stated.“This situation has moved well beyond what ought to be acceptable in a modern democracy where respect for the rule of law is maintained. The Constitution envisages the Judiciary of Guyana to be headed by officials who are substantively appointed and enjoy all the legal and institutional mechanisms to secure their tenure,” he continued.Referring to Article 122 A(1); which states that “All courts and all persons presiding over the courts shall exercise their functions independently of the control and direction of any person or authority; and shall be free and independent from political, executive and other form of discretion and control.”Byron had bluntly stated that the delay is a breach of the spirit and intent of the Constitution.Edwards was appointed by President Granger in May of 2017 to act as Chancellor. Prior to that, she acted as the Chief Justice from December 2015. She was never confirmed to that substantive position.Cummings-Edwards replaced Justice Carl Singh, who retired after acting as Chancellor since 2005. On the other hand, the current Acting Chief Justice, Justice Roxane George, was also appointed to her position on the same day as Cummings-Edwards.last_img

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