Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
Acting Chancellor of the Judiciary Yonette Edwards-Cummings made a stirring appeal to the Government to appoint more judges to reduce the backlog and workload on existing judges.
Speaking last Tuesday at the opening of the Law Year 2023, the Chancellor noted whilst the judiciary is appreciative of infrastructural expansion, what is also needed is additional human resources to augment the court’s work.
According to Justice Cummings-Edwards: “We need more judges! We need the Judicial Service Commission to be established ASAP – as soon as possible. We are facing increased case loads. Judges are now overburdened, they are exhausted, they are nearly worn out and they are, in some cases, burned out.”
The Judicial Service Commission (JSC), which is responsible for the appointment of magistrates and judges, was not reconstituted since 2017.
Addressing efforts to deal with employees’ mental wellness the Chancellor stated psychological and psycho-social therapy services were provided, “especially during the COVID-19 years but that in itself cannot help. We need to have more persons on board to assist us in carrying out our mandate of providing justice”.
In the representation justice and her staff, Justice Cummings-Edwards implored the need to move beyond talks to delivery. “We do not need the rhetoric. We need more labourers. We need the judges. We’ve been hearing time and again about the JSC is soon to be established. We would like to see the implementation and the establishment of the Judicial Service Commission.”
The manpower shortage was also addressed by acting Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire SC, Director of Public Prosecutions Shalimar Ali-Hack SC, and President of the Guyana Bar Association Pauline Chase. Chase noted that inadequate staffing could undermine justice. There is also the well-established maxim that “justice delayed is justice denied.”
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall SC, speaking at the session, said the JSC will be appointed shortly.
However, shadow Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Roysdale Forde SC, said the JSC should have been constituted long ago. “Members of the Judiciary and society would recall in 2018 when the Commission was not constituted Mr. Nandlall condemned the Coalition Government, but he has been Attorney General since 2020.” Forde said Nandlall, who is member of Bar, is failing to ensure this branch of government is equipped with the required resources to deliver and ensure justice in Guyana. “This should be of concerned to all Guyanese.”