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The Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) blasted the Government for engaging in tactics that would lead to the delay in the appointment of Chancellor and Chief Justice and the undermining of the Judiciary. Appointment to the positions requires meaningful consultation and agreement between the President and Leader of the Opposition.
The Chancellor position has been vacant since 2005 and the Chief Justice since 2001. The Union is reminding the government these are important posts and crucial to the maintenance of good governance and balance of power, between the Executive, Judiciary and Legislature.
“The appointees therefore should not be subservient to the Executive arm of Government, but to assure the people that justice would be served in every sphere through objectivity, independence and discipline. The lack of substantive Heads of the Judiciary gives an aura of judicial subjugation and manipulation.”
According to the GPSU citizens expect the government to serve and do all that is necessary to ensure these substantive appointments are made in a timely manner but sadly this has not been the case.
But “an unenlightened and self-serving release by the Ali Administration, through its Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, SC, now suggests that the already lengthy delays would be further delayed, until the PPP/C can get their way through Constitutional reform.”
The Judiciary has been beset by many ills because of government’s inaction, said the Union as it pointed to the non-appointment of the Judicial Service Commission, since 2017, which is the regulatory arm and basis of appointment of judges of the High Courts and Appellate Court.
Flaying the government for ruthlessly politicising every arm of government, the union says the Government now “seeks to lay down measures to infect the Judiciary, through a system, which could potential[ly] see it appointing Judicial slaves that would otherwise destroy every element, or the very existence, of justice in the land.”
The Judiciary has been beset by many ills, because of Government’s inaction said the Union. Attention was drawn to the heightened workload of available judges which has resulted in significant delays in the production of written judgements, in breach of the requirements of the Time Limit for Judicial Decisions Act 2009, Act Number. 9/2009. To therefore be “lambasting Judges for circumstances beyond their control” the GPSU said smacks of hypocrisy.
“Further, the tone and content of the message to the Judiciary, as reported in Kaieteur News of October 28, 2022, gave the impression that the Hon. Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs viewed his official capacity as a prerogative to being condescending to the Judiciary, in part or as a whole.
“The cavalier attitude of the Hon. Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs towards the Judiciary and jurisprudence generally has caused him to be upbraided most recently by the Caribbean Courts of Justice (CCJ) for breaches of confidentiality, protocol and trust that had its roots in an impending judgement.
“The recent pontifications on the Judiciary by the Hon. Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs begs the question of whether his posture on the issue is as a result of personal aspirations to one or both of the appointments.”
Given the challenges in the judiciary the GPSU is calling on President Irfaan Ali to take the lead in engaging the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Aubrey Norton on constitutional matters to enable fruitful interaction and finding of common ground. These appointments are pivotal and in the interest of good governance and good governance means there ought to be no winner takes all positions or decisions, advised the Union.