The Guyana Bar Association has expressed alarm over the absence of a Judge at the Demerara Land Court as this is reportedly causing a backlog in cases.
According to the Association, there has been no public information about the status of the Land Court at Demerara.
Since the beginning of 2014, the former Commissioner of Title, Rabindra Rooplall, demitted office. “We are informed that Mr. Rooplall had reached the age of 55 and under the Public Service Rules which applied to him, he retired.”
The Association said that while the Commissioner functioned effectively as a judicial officer, it is unfortunate that arrangements could not be made to possibly have him remain in office until a replacement could be found.
“Even one case is too many. We are informed that his replacement was not identified or appointed prior to this sudden circumstance – Mr. Rooplall’s 55th birthday- because the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) was not constituted.”
The Bar Association explained that the term of the JSC appointed under Article 198 of the Guyana Constitution is for three years.
“(With) the last appointments having been made in 2010, one would have thought that the National Assembly would have conducted its consultations and made appointments with alacrity so that its work would continue with minimum disruption.”
As a matter of fact, the outgoing JSC should have alerted the National Assembly to this eventuality. “Perhaps they too were taken by surprise.”
The Association said it had agitated for the National Assembly to consult with stakeholders.
“We are informed that the Appointments Committee of the National Assembly met in May 2014 and approved nominations made by the Guyana Bar Association for former Justice Lennox Perry to be appointed to the JSC. The JSC will be properly constituted when the appointees take their respective oaths.”
However, in the meantime, the already large backlog of work in the Land Court will be compounded “in our view, unnecessarily. We think the public deserves better.”
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