Time for acting appointments to end – Bar Association

first_imgJudicial posts– dangerous to perception of due process, administration of justiceAmid moves to make substantive appointments to the most important positions in the Judiciary, the Guyana Bar Association is calling for a timely end to protracted acting positions. This comes after President David Granger’s announcement that a nominee has been found to take over one of these posts.Acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Yonnet Cummings Edwards, with acting Chief Justice, Roxane GeorgeAccording to Vice President of the Bar Association, Teni Housty, acting appointments can affect the perception of the Judiciary’s fairness when making decisions. And while Housty noted that good decisions have so far been made by the appointees, such appointments are generally discouraged.“In the context of the Judiciary, acting appointments are always discouraged. (Only) recently Sir Dennis Byron spoke out against (it). Certainly in judicial appointments, it (would) be the better option to the administration of justice, particularly to the perception.”“It is about time and it should be resolved. For too long, they called it the academy awards for the media profession. I think it’s about time the acting stops, not only for Guyana but the whole perception of the Judiciary. The administration of justice would be improved.”Granger, who had made the announcement of the nominee during a press conference, had revealed the jurist to be resident in the Caribbean. On the matter of an overseas jurist being chosen as opposed to a local one, Housty referenced the fact that Guyanese have flitted in between countries and have distinguished themselves overseas in the field of law.“The beauty about the practise of law in a commonwealth legislature is that officers can come from any part of the world and we have Guyanese jurists who have distinguished themselves regionally and internationally.”At his press conference, Granger had revealed that the person chosen for either of the top judicial posts is currently in Guyana. According to the Constitution, however, the President must hold consultations with Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.It remains to be seen whether approval will be given, with Granger stating that he was prepared to meet with Jagdeo. But while there have been criticisms that the President is too close to the process when the Judicial Service Commission ought to take the lead, Housty noted that the nominee was derived out of a process.“The Constitution makes provisions for the manner in which the decision was made. There was also a recommendation from a committee that had been convened. For some time now, they’ve had many acting Chancellors. The only Chancellor who was confirmed was Chancellor Bernard.”“So whatever modality is adopted, it’s the Leader of the Opposition who (must approve). Applications were invited. So it’s the result of a process.”Just recently, President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Sir Dennis Byron 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.In a recent address to the Guyana Bar Association, he 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 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.Byron bluntly stated that the delay is a breach of the spirit and intent of the Constitution.Acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Yonnet Cummings Edwards, was appointed by President David Granger in May of this year. Prior to that, she acted as the Chief Justice from December 2015. She was never confirmed to the substantive position.Edwards replaced Justice Carl Singh, who retired after acting as Chancellor since 2005. On the other hand, the current Acting Chief Justice, Roxane George, was also appointed to her position on the same day as Edwards.last_img read more

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