Jun 24, 2022 News
Kaieteur News – A court case has been filed in the High Court over the non-appointment of permanent holders to the office of Chief Justice (CJ) and Chancellor of the Judiciary.
The case brought by Vice Chairman of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Vinceroy Jordan seeks inter alia an order directed to the President through the Attorney General compelling the head of State to forthwith initiate the process contemplated by Article 127 of the Constitution to make permanent appointments to the two offices.
As part of his application, the PNC/R Vice Chairman and Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) also seeks a declaration from the Court that the President has no valid reason not to initiate the process to appoint permanent holders to the office of the Chief Justice and Chancellor.
He also wants the court to order the President to consult with the Opposition Leader on having permanently appointed judicial officers.
In a document to support his application, Jordan pointed to reports in which he said that the President, Irfaan Ali from the date of his appointment 2nd day of August, 2020 to the present time, has refused to initiate any process to appoint permanent office holders to the top judicial posts.
The applicant alluded to the list of excuses given by the President as basis of not initiating the process to appoint the persons. Among them, he noted that Ali had said that then Leader of the Opposition Joseph Harmon and the Opposition must recognise him and his Government as a legitimate Government before he consults with him on the appointment.
In addition, Jordan noted the Caribbean Court of Justice, through its presidents have repeatedly called for permanent appointments to be made to the offices of the Chancellor and Chief Justice of Guyana.
Further, the Opposition MP pointed to correspondence between the President and the current Leader of the Opposition, Aubrey Norton.
He explained that based on the correspondence, Norton had expressed a readiness to see the process to appoint the Chief Justice and Chancellor initiated, but it was the President who has been holding off on the appointments.
Jordan noted that Norton had written to the President in May expressing his willingness to see the overdue appointment made a reality, but a letter from Minister of Governance and Parliamentary Affairs, Gail Teixeira was sent to stop the Opposition Leader in his tracks. According to Jordan, the Opposition Leader had written several times to the President on the matter.
The applicant noted in response to one of Norton’s letters Teixeira replying on behalf of the President stated “…It appears that you have misinterpreted your role as Leader of the Opposition with regards to constitutional appointments. It is the President who decides when he is ready to engage you as Leader of the Opposition with regards to any specific constitutional appointments and not the other way round. I wish to assure you that when the President is ready to address the appointments of the Chancellor and Chief Justice you will be engaged in accordance with the provisions of Article 127 of the Constitution.”
Jordan noted nevertheless that Norton has been adamant on the importance and necessity of making permanent appointments to the offices of Chancellor and Chief Justice. He [Norton] responded in kind by saying “I had indicated…I am committed to agreeing to the immediate appointment of Justices Yonnette Cummings-Edwards and Roxanne George-Wiltshire as the Chancellor and Chief Justice respectively.
“Your statement that the President is not prepared at this time to engage in consultations on this matter of supreme Constitutional importance, comes over as a gross dereliction of his Constitutional duty and a clear indication that he is non-responsive to the concerns of Civil Society and the people of Guyana.
I once again urge that consultations which will result in the confirmation of the Chancellor (ag) and Chief Justice (ag) be placed on the agenda in this round of consultations,” the Opposition Leader had stated in his reply letter. In light of the ongoing disagreement between the two political leaders of the appointment of permanent holder to the two top offices, Jordan said it is now essential that the Court makes a pronouncement on the matter.
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