first_imgNominees for Chancellor, CJ…despite dismal track record in BelizePresident David Granger is maintaining support for his nominee for Chancellor — Belizean Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin –to take over the judiciary in Guyana despite his performance in Belize being criticised by the Belizean Bar Association.Asked about his nominee’s background on the side-lines of an event on Friday, President Granger reiterated his support for Justice Benjamin, and confronted the issue of the backlog of cases in Belize for which Benjamin was criticised.“I don’t know if there is any Judiciary in the Commonwealth Caribbean which doesn’t have a backlog of cases,” he said. “I don’t think that the allegations of the Bar Association are substantial enough for me to change my opinion. We had a process, by which all persons interested in the position of chancellor had appliedPresident David Grangerand had been interviewed by an expert panel,” he explained.“I am advised by that panel, and I am prepared to stick by the advice of that panel. So I have not changed my view on Justice Benjamin; he’s very competent, he’s Guyanese-born, and I think he’s working towards reducing that backlog.”Asked what distinguishes Benjamin from other potential candidates, Granger reiterated that the interview panel has already evaluated the candidates. He noted that interested persons had a chance to apply, and some — for example, Justice Roxane George — did not.Justice Benjamin was nominated by President Granger for the position of Chancellor, while the current acting Chancellor, Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, was nominated for the position of Chief Justice.Back in February, Jagdeo had rejected the two nominees, though he never stated his reasons publicly.The Guyana Bar Association had even passed a motion calling on President Granger to confirm Justices Yonette Cummings-Edwards and Roxane George in the respective positions of Chancellor and Chief Justice.It is expected that Granger will have another meeting with Jagdeo in the near future to sort out these appointments.Before his tenure had come to an end, former President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Sir Dennis Byron, had zeroed in on the trend of persons being appointed to top positions in Guyana’s Judiciary, but being forced to act for years while their confirmation remains in limbo.In an address to the Guyana Bar Association, he condemned the fact that since former Chancellor Desiree Bernard had demitted office, an agreement had notJustice Kenneth Benjaminbeen reached for the substantive appointment of a Chancellor.“This has brought us to the situation today, where the number one and number two officials of the Guyana Judiciary have not been substantively appointed. This is a most unfortunate state of affairs,” the legal luminaire had stated.“This situation has moved well beyond what ought to be acceptable in a modern democracy, where respect for the rule of law is maintained.“The Constitution envisages the Judiciary of Guyana to be headed by officials who are substantively appointed and enjoy all the legal and institutional mechanisms to secure their tenure,” Sir Dennis had continued, adding that the delay was a breach of the spirit and intent of the Constitution.Justice Cummings Edwards was appointed by President David Granger in May of this year. Prior to that, she acted as the Chief Justice from December 2015. She was never confirmed to the substantive position.Edwards replaced Justice Carl Singh, who retired after having acted as Chancellor since 2005. On the other hand, the currently Acting Chief Justice, Roxane George, was also appointed to her position on the same day as Edwards.last_img read more