Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan, has condemned recent attacks on the Judiciary by senior government officials.
During the party’s press conference on Friday last, Ramjattan called out Vice President (VP), Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, and Attorney General (AG), Anil Nandlall, SC, for comments they made following decisions that were particularly not in their favour.
He cited the utterances that were made by the two senior government official on several court ruling including the judgment by Justice Sandil Kissoon, who ordered that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must secure an unlimited parent guarantee from ExxonMobil Corporation, and the ruling by Senior Magistrate Leron Daly, who discharged a case against former Finance Minister Winston Jordan, just recently.
Following the judgment by Justice Kissoon, the VP said he agrees with the AG’s decision to appeal the ruling and stated that the Judiciary is treading in murky waters by directing a regulatory agency on how to do its job. For his part, the Attorney General called Senior Magistrate Daly’s decision an “egregious error” that does not follow precedent.
“Senior politicians as these two holding such high offices must not use such offices as a bully pulpit to advance their ideas of what judgments should be delivered by the judiciary and the magistracy. Such conduct is uncivil, insensitive, and with the intent to make justice officials look over their shoulders as to how the Executive branch thinks about their findings and rulings,” Ramjattan said.
According to the party leader, such action can be disastrous for institutional democracy, judicial independence and the justice fields. He added that Jagdeo and Nandlall should strive to be moral leaders who use their offices as moral pulpits or otherwise “shut up.”
He reminded that person who possesses more locus standi to constructively criticise Senior Magistrate Daly ruling is the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Shalimar Ali-Hack, SC, or one of her delegates.
He explained that the constitutional office of the DPP is an institution made for political neutrality and to insulate sensitive areas of public activities from direct political influence. “It was constitutionalized some decades ago exactly for this purpose, to insulate from the political hands of the government’s chief legal advisor the Attorney General…,” Ramjattan added.