The Bar Council of the Guyana Bar Association yesterday condemned the attacks on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ahead of their ruling on the Jagdeo, Ali et al appeal case. With the Caribbean Court expected to hand down their ruling tomorrow, there has been frequent attacks on the court, warning against ruling in a certain way.
The Bar Council, in a statement, pointed out that they have observed that parties on all sides of the pending litigation, including main contenders from the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and incumbent A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change Coalition (APNU+AFC), and “including parties outside of the litigation”, have resorted to multiple forms of media, providing commentary and information in an attempt to advance their respective cases.
Those attempts also include peaceful protests actions by the APNU+AFC Coalition held yesterday in Linden, Berbice and Georgetown. The small groups of protestors held placards saying “Respect our Sovereignty”, “No Foreign Interference” and “The CCJ must respect Guyana’s Constitution.” According to reports, the protestors did not receive permission to host the protest and were quickly disbursed. Additionally, the attempts to sway the ruling of the CCJ, according to the Bar Council have escalated to the point where a full-page ad was placed in the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian on July 4.
“The continuous, pervasive and escalated actions observed in both Guyana and most recently by way of a full page advertisement have made it necessary,” the Council said, for them to speak.
“This conduct,” the release stated, “is unreservedly condemned. Of even greater offence is the use of social media by members of the society to launch unnecessary, malicious and contemptuous attacks on sitting members of our Apex Court.”
The Council denounced all conduct and actions regarding pending proceedings which they said are calculated to interfere with the administration of justice; are intended to prejudice the administration of justice; are made with the deliberate intention of interfering with the course of justice; are made carelessly or negligently without due regard for the integrity and processes associated with the pending proceedings; create a serious risk that the course of justice may be interfered with; prejudge the matters in issue before the Court; and undermine public confidence in the Court and or administration of justice.
The Council further, that the course of justice and the administration of justice in legal proceedings are “critical pillars on which the rule of law rests.”
“The pillars of justice are intended to stand robustly after many of us are no longer of this earth, let not our conduct today cause harm to the administration of justice that it will take generations to remedy.”
They also called on all parties involved in the case to “hold their voices, respect the processes of the administration of justice and thereby cease your injurious conduct.”
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