President of Guyana Bar Association, Attorney Pauline Chase is calling on the Government to begin the process that will see the appointment of a Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and the confirmation of the country’s highest Judicial Officers, as it remains an embarrassing state of affairs.
Speaking at an event hosted by the Bar Association to commemorate Law Week, 2022 under the theme “Advancing the rule of law in the new normal”, the Bar Association President made a call on the authorities to act in ensuring that the current system is changed and the rule of law is respected.
“It is therefore inimical to the rule of law, that there are acting appointments of our highest Judicial officers. The absence on confirmed Judicial officers since the amendment to the Constitution for their appointment some 20 years ago, is no clear evidence that that system of appointment is not working. It is an embarrassing state of affairs which ought to be corrected with alacrity, as we have seen in other matters. It adversely affects our standing in the world and the rule of law index”, Ms. Chase said.
The Judicial Service Commission has not been reconstituted since 2017. The situation has resulted in a number of key posts in the judiciary being left vacant.
The Bar Association President said the situation continues to affect the rule of law and the work of the local judiciary.
“I, therefore, call on and urge all those and who the duty so fall to start the consultative process and put into motion the machinery to address the correction for this unworkable and failed formula”.
She said the moves must be fastracked to also ensure the appointment of the Judicial Service Commission.
“The effect of its absence goes without saying and while I’m sure that blame could be defended by defenders over the years for its absence in about 2017 for various reasons when the life of the last commission ended in 2017, I wish to sound the warning that the situation grows dier with each and every passing day”
Just two months ago, President Irfaan Ali committed to his constitutional mandate in ensuring the necessary appointments to the Commission as well as the long-overdue substantive appointments of the two top judicial posts of Chancellor of the Judiciary and Chief Justice.
However, outside of that commitment, there have been no moves to fulfill the appointments.