Jan 03, 2022 Editorial
Kaieteur News – How long more will this offensive and embarrassing state of affairs in Guyana’s judiciary continue? For how much longer will the unending distrust of our bitter partisan politics hold this country hostage?
When will we get to that point where there could be confirmation of the acting holders to the two top positions in this nation’s judicial system? Our article titled, “Partisan politics responsible for 20-year impasse on judicial appointments of Chancellor, CJ” (KN August 8) says it all. It is where we are, where we are not going, because we cannot bring ourselves to think any more on anything, for fear of political implications, despite declared confidence in the judiciary.
Now the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr. Lenox Shuman, has called on President Ali to consult with the Opposition and do away with this 20-year embarrassment. We note Mr. Shuman’s similar call for the Commissioner of Police and Chief of Staff, also commendable, but because they are of much shorter duration, we focus on the Chancellor and Chief Justice, both acting, and both women.
Guyana cannot look good before the world, even before ourselves, when we look in the mirror. Our political leaders both sides of the harsh, perilous divide look worse, in seeking to shift the blame to the other. It is always the wicked other side, while we make fools of ourselves when we mention the word democracy. Past and current governments blame previous and current oppositions. Thus, we remain stuck in the same place, with the inevitable fallouts on wider society.
But nobody cares about that, or has a care for the humiliating position in which two fine and faithful female jurists have been placed. What could be wrong with these two women? What is it that diminishes them to such a degree that they cannot be about the legally immaculate, the judicially sagacious? How prejudiced and partial can they be, as they seem to be assessed, in the eyes of those whose hands their fates have resided for 20 long years and which surely must represent the unequal in torturous suspension?
When these two women have been dragged through the partisan gutter like this, then the damage inflicted is felt in places that go beyond them. It is more than the acting Chancellor of the Judiciary and acting Chief Justice, who are held to ransom, but all women and, we daresay all men; all Guyana too. As they are shamed, so are we. It is also enlightening how much we can patter about democracy and constitution, but only when either or both serves our narrow visions and purposes.
Still further, it is instructive how strong and determined our political leaders can be, when the objects of their uncertainties and their resistance are local in origin and local in presence. But, on the other hand, how frail and faded and failing they all (that same tough political leadership) can be when they have to confront, deal, and overcome those who are from the outside. Since we do not wish to tamper with this fierce focus on the judicial, our only hint would be that leadership strength is damnably feeble, when the national commercial interests are involved, and in the balance. Then, they are weak and unsteady, and so unlike the muscular robustness that they summon to thwart judicial appointments for two decades running.
As this impasse goes on, the independence, and necessary appearances of independence, of this country’s judicial apparatus and architecture take a body blow. Part of the inevitable fallout will always be questioning and second-guessing the decisions that come from those entrusted to be impartial and unseeing where the dispensation of justice is concerned. It will be more than about how such a decision was arrived at, perhaps still more importantly, why it had to be so. When such becomes the norm, then our very system of justice suffers and all because the vital trusts that belong have been played politics with, and now stand hopelessly, maybe irretrievably, shattered. This is one public example of how our partisan politics has clouded our minds and fatally poisoned our souls.
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