Oct 12, 2015 News
With Chief Justice (Ag) Ian Chang likely to proceed on pre-retirement leave sometime before the end of the year, the post will not be vacant as many have surmised.
Rather it is only the post of a substantive Court of Appeal Judge which will be vacant.
The situation arises since there is already in place a substantive Chief Justice, Carl Singh, who has been acting in the capacity of Chancellor of the Judiciary and the situation now leaves the President and Leader of the Political Opposition in a tricky position.
This is the observation of eminent legal luminary Ralph Ramkarran.
The former Speaker of the National Assembly, who had also served in the now ousted Peoples’ Progressive Party for a number of years, made his views known over the weekend through his writings published on his conversationtree.org media outlet.
Chang is substantively a Court of Appeal Judge, who has been acting in the capacity of Chief Justice for more than a decade now.
According to Ramkarran “when, therefore, Chief Justice (Ag) Chang retires, the President has two options, namely, to require the acting Chancellor to resume his substantive post as Chief Justice and appoint a Chancellor or, appoint a Chief Justice.”
Should the President adopt the first option of appointing a Chancellor, then he will face substantial difficulty, according to Ramkarran.
He believes that there is no one in Guyana, in the private bar who would be age qualified and willing, or in the judiciary, who is currently qualified, save for the two judges of the Court of Appeal.
“Even though both (Court of Appeal Judges) are experienced and distinguished judges, the issue of seniority will arise for consideration, as Chancellor (Ag) Carl Singh is senior to them both and has already established a track record in Guyana and the Region.”
Ramkarran has also suggested that the administration should quietly set aside the bad idea of advertising in the Caribbean region for candidates to fill vacant judicial posts in Guyana where there are qualified Guyanese at home.
He weighed in also on what he believes to be a second option available to the President, namely to appoint a person to the post of Chief Justice and leave the acting Chancellor in situ (in place).
According to Ramkarran, it may well be that this was the option that the Attorney General (Basil Williams) was hinting at when he spoke of the impending retirement of Chang.
Williams during his publicly reported announcement, referred to the appointment of a Chief Justice and that he had discussed it with the President.
“If this is the option, the candidates who immediately come to mind are the judges of the Court of Appeal….If handled correctly, the exercise of this option can set the course of the judiciary on a stable trajectory for the next fifteen years.”
According to Ramkarran, utilizing the second option also creates the possibility that the more than decade long impasse with the confirmation of the appointments of Chancellor and Chief Justice will be eventually resolved.
He noted too that the Constitution requires the agreement of the Leader of the Opposition to the appointments.
Former Opposition Leaders, Desmond Hoyte and Granger at the time, have declined to give their consent to the confirmation of Ian Chang and Carl Singh.
The result, according to Ramkarran, is that they had to be appointed to acting positions where only consultation with, and not the consent of, the Opposition Leader, is required.
“This state of affairs is widely recognized as being bad for justice and can adversely affect its impartial dispensation…Notwithstanding this unwholesome situation, this issue remains unresolved.”
According to Ramkarran, “If the President chooses this option, he will obviously be recommending someone in whom he has confidence and whose appointment he would want to be confirmed by the consent of the Leader of the Opposition.”
As such the former speaker believes, “an opportunity therefore exists for the Leader of the Opposition (Bharrat Jagdeo) to take the high road and consent to the President’s nominee, once the nominee is qualified, as I have no doubt he or she will be.”
According to Ramkarran, “If the Leader of the Opposition does so, the President should likewise bring to an end the sorry state of affairs where Guyana has had an acting Chancellor for more than a decade and confirm his appointment.”
Jun 21, 2021Kaieteur News – By Franklin Wilson Team Evolution’s Christopher ‘Chicken Legs’ Griffith crossed the line in One Hour 41 Minutes 36.22 Seconds to win the Banks DIH sponsored Malta...
Jun 21, 2021
Jun 21, 2021
Jun 20, 2021
Jun 20, 2021
Jun 20, 2021
Kaieteur News – I am quoting the words of Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine in an interview of September, 2017, that he gave Dr.... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders More commonality was shown by CARICOM countries in a vote on Tuesday June 15 at the Organisation of... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]