Judicial 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.
A 26-year-old mother of four was slapped with a larceny charge and appeared before Magistrate Fabayo Azore at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.It is alleged that Sandra Griffith between the period November 15, 2017 to December 12, 2017, she stole one gold chain valued $500,000, a pair of gold earrings valued $40,000 and one yellow and white gold ring valued $250,000, all property of Keon Howard.The unemployed mother of four young children pleaded not guilty to the charge read to her. She was released on $75,000 bail.
…says $2.3M in damages to vehicles being repaid by ranksRanks of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) who have found themselves involved in vehicular accidents, whether in their personal vehicles or in the Force’s vehicles, were at the receiving end of a verbal bashing by acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine.Addressing senior and junior ranks as well as stakeholders at the Force’s 179th Anniversary Awards Ceremony on Wednesday morning, Ramnarine reminded members of the Force that road regulations are applicable to all road users, while admonishing those ranks who have been involved in vehicular accidents.He pointed out that from July 2016 to June 2017, eighteen members of the Force were involved in various category of accidents while driving GPF vehicles. This compares to an increase of 23 ranks involved in accidents during the period July 2017 to June 2018.“A total of 41 ranks, including seven subordinate officers and 34 constables [were fingered in these accidents]. Add this to another 18 ranks over the two years’ period being involved in various accidents while driving private vehicles. The occurrences cannot be ones that we are satisfied with. We have taken an oath, we are here in uniforms, we have higher learning and training; and therefore we must conduct ourselves a lot better than we do,” the acting top cop asserted.According to Ramnarine, those ranks who fail to better conduct themselves on the roadways will face the same fate as those who have been made to pay over $2.3 million for damaging the Force’s vehicle thus far this year.“They are being made to repay for the costs of those damages. Some 10 ranks have already completed payment, and the others have some more time to pay.Police Commissioner (ag) David RamnarineThat is the position we have to enforce,” Ramnarine posited.The acting Top Cop is accordingly urging ranks to be more responsible on the roadways while executing their duties.“We have permitted [speeding] in only emergency situations and in situations where, for example, you’re fired upon and there is great danger to public safety if you don’t take a certain course of action. But in normal circumstances — for instance following a motor cycle without a number plate; the motorcyclist got away, you didn’t get the motorcycle, but you end up slamming into a civilian vehicle, damaging beyond repair a Police vehicle; and for what? For a minor offence? Please use your judgement, or you will have to pay as others have started to pay. This is the position,” he outlined.Further, Ramnarine went on to say that the Force will no longer tolerate such reprehensible and disrespectful behaviour from ranks who continue to breach road rules and traffic regulations.“We cannot move forward in the same way… Of course the leadership of the Force has not feigned or neglected to take condign action, but the reality of this prior unacceptable situation is that, at this juncture of our 179th anniversary, let us assure that there is significant positive improvement and set the example by good private and public conduct regarding the use of the road and adherence to the regulations that are attached,” the acting Top Cop encouraged. Complaints downA crashed Police vehicleEven as Ramnarine reprimanded ranks for their conduct on the roadways, he revealed that general complaints against members of the Police Force has significantly declined over the last two years. In fact, he said, there was a 39.5 per cent decrease in complaints against ranks over the past year when compared to the previous corresponding period.“There were 394 complaints between July 2016 and June 2017; and between July 2017 and June 2018, we have 283 complaints. Additionally, for the first half of this year, against that of last year, we record a 50 per cent decrease in complaints with 140 complaints this year for the first six months, against 280 for the first six months last year,” the acting Police Commissioner disclosed.The nature of the complaints that have been reduced against members of the Force include neglect of duty, Police harassment, assaults, wrongful arrests, corrupt practices, sexual harassment, and fraudulent conversion.According to the Ramnarine, the decline in complaints has been found to be as a result of a number of factors.“A preliminary analysis suggests that improved and increased supervision, swift and condign action by senior leadership of the Force, severe punishment, support through speedy and timely legal advice, and some degree of reluctance on the part of complainants are the main reasons for this significant decline in complaints,” he stated.However, while these complaints have declined, the offence of ‘Acts in a manner likely to bring discredit on the reputation of the Force’ has shown an increase of 30 per cent, with a total of 56 complaints against 39 over the two-year comparable period.Nevertheless, the acting Police Commissioner posited that various efforts are afoot to build much needed professionalism as well as capacity and capability within the country’s premier law enforcement agency.These include consistent training under various local and overseas-sponsored initiatives, such as the Canada-funded Justice Education Society (JES) programme, as well as ongoing efforts under the Security Sector Reform Project (SSRP), being executed by the British Government. (Vahnu Manikchand)
Nineteen-year-old Godfrey Cox of Princes Street, Georgetown was on Friday further remanded to prison by Georgetown Magistrate Leron Daly when he reappeared in her court charged with the offence of armed robbery.The sex worker had pleaded not guilty to the charge when he was first arraigned before the magistrate earlier this month. The charge states that on June 20, 2018, at King and Charlotte Streets, Georgetown, while being armed with a knife, he robbed David Harvey of $65,000 in cash. Harvey was reportedly heading to the Shell Gas Station on Regent Street, Georgetown to pay workers when the defendant attacked him, held him at knifepoint, and relieved him of the cash that was in his pants pocket.The prosecutor objected to Cox being placed on bail based on the seriousness of the offence and the fact that the defendant has other matters of a similar nature pending in court.Magistrate Daly has further remanded Cox to August 27, 2018.
Swan, Linden-Soesdyke Highway choppingThirty-two-year-old Malicia Andrews, of Swan Community, Linden-Soesdyke Highway, who was brutally attacked and chopped by her reputed husband during an argument has been placed on life support with her condition listed as critical.The mother of six was chopped to her neck and hand after she indicated to her now dead reputed husband that she wanted to end the relationship. The incident took place on Tuesday at Swan Village.Speaking with Guyana Times, Charmalita Adams, a sister of the injured woman, noted that Andrews has been unresponsive since she was admitted a patient atCritical: Malicia Andrewsthe Georgetown Public Hospital.As a result, she was placed on the life support machine after suffering breathing problems on account of the chop she received to her neck.“The doctor say she have to do another surgery today (Thursday); she gah go in theatre, but she can’t talk … all she doing is shaking she head,” her younger sister explained.Based on reports, the suspect, 39-year-old Ian English of Lot 11 Swan Village, who later took his own life, followed the woman to her mother’s home and demanded that she return home with him but she refused. It was at that time she informed him that she wanted to end the relationship.The suspect reportedly became enraged, armed himself with a cutlass, went into the house and dealt Andrews several chops to her body. After receiving the chops, the injured woman reportedly ran into the yard and collapsed.The suspect, believing that she was dead, collected a rope along with the blood-stained cutlass and fled the scene. Andrews was picked up and rushed to the Diamond hospital in critical condition and was later transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital.English’s body was later discovered by Police ranks who were summoned to the scene after the chopping incident.The couple had shared a relationship for several years and had two children ages 13 and 2.