Attorney-at-Law, Melinda Janki says it is high time that Guyanese authorities improve upon the Constitutional process that has stymied the confirmation of persons appointed to the two most powerful seats in the Judiciary, Chancellor and Chief Justice, . In a recent letter to the press, Janki said it is a failing of the system that current Chancellor, Yonette Cummings-Edwards and Chief Justice Roxane George have been acting in their respective positions for a number of years.

“This is inconsistent with the rule of law…Judges must have (and must be seen to have) the freedom to give judgements against the Executive branch of government without being afraid that they will be dismissed, demoted or blocked in their careers,” Janki wrote.

She then referenced Article 127(1) of the Constitution, which says that the Chancellor and the Chief Justice shall each be appointed by the President after obtaining the agreement of the Leader of the Opposition. Janki said, “This process belongs in the dustbin of history. It clearly does not work. It is incompatible with the rule of law to allow political involvement in the appointment of any judge but especially the two most senior judges in the country.”

Janki said too that it is unfair to the current incumbents while also being contrary to the established Commonwealth (Latimer House) Principles which state that: ‘The appointment process, whether or not involving an appropriately constituted and representative judicial services commission, should be designed to guarantee the quality and independence of mind of those selected for appointment at all levels of the judiciary.’

Janki then appealed for a way forward on the matter. She recommended for consideration that a temporary committee, independent of government, opposition, and their supporters, be established to handle such matters.


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