There is no clear indication as to when the country will have a substantive Chancellor and Chief Justice with President Irfaan Ali today declaring that although nothing is holding up consultations for the two top judicial posts, discussions have not started as yet in the government’s camp regarding the matter.
The Constitution mandates consultation and agreement between the President and the Leader of the Opposition on the two top judicial posts.
Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton has already indicated his full support for the two Judges acting in the positions to be confirmed.
He has written a letter to the Government indicating his position.
But the President is still to decide on whether he will nominate the two Judges to the two key positions.
“We are not at the stage of addressing those issues as yet, there is nothing stalling it, and is just that we have not commence addressing that as yet. I am trying to complete the Judicial Service Commission, these things must be in place almost instantaneously now that we have the clearance,” the President said.
The Guyana Bar Association has repeatedly called on successive governments to address the issue of a Substantive Chancellor and Chief Justice.
Earlier this year the President of the Caribbean Court of Justice, Justice Adrian Saunders had called for Guyana to have a substantive Chancellor and Chief Justice by year end.
“There is one significant blot on an otherwise impressive Guyanese legal and judicial landscape. For the country to have not appointed a Chancellor for 17 long years is very disappointing; likewise, to be without an appointed Chief Justice for several years. As the President of your final court, I believe I have a right and a duty publicly to express the view that Guyana should not let this year pass and not remedy this regrettable situation,” Justice Saunders said in April.
The President however said today that the focus currently is on the Teaching Service Commission, the Public Service Commission and the Judicial Service Commission and then moves will be made to address the issue of the Chancellor and Chief Justice.
The judiciary has not had confirmed appointments to the top two posts for almost two decades.
Justice Cummings-Edwards and Justice Roxane George SC were respectively appointed to their acting positions in 2017, weeks after the retirement of Justice Carl Singh who was never confirmed to the top judicial post after acting in the position for 12 years.