President David Granger is adamant to have Justice Kenneth Benjamin and Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards appointed the positions of Chancellor and Chief Justice of the Judiciary respectively.
The President speaking on the sidelines of a function at State House on Wednesday, said that the behavior of one person cannot paralysed the work of the Courts, he might be referring to Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo.
The President had submitted the names of the two luminaries in the Justice sector to Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo for approval as required by the Constitution, however, the Opposition Leader did not find favor with the names and rejected same, Jagdeo did not say why the names were rejected.
Jagdeo in a letter to the President said ”Pursuant to our meeting held on January 3rd 2018, I have duly considered the two (2) nominees for whom you seek my agreement for appointment as Chancellor of the Judiciary and Chief Justice, respectively, in accordance with Article 127 (1) of the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, As promised, I have done the requisite due diligence. It is with deep regret that I inform you that I am unable to offer my agreement to the appointment of Mr. Justice Kenneth Andrew Charles Benjamin, as Chancellor of the Judiciary and Madam Justice Yonette Decina Cummings-Edwards O.R., as Chief Justice.”
The President further noted that he is awaiting legal advise from his Attorney General, Basil Williams S.C on the way forward. The President noted that he was hoping that the process would have moved forward by having the posts filled, “it is not desirable to continue the current practice of acting which existed for several years and I would like to have a substantive appointment, it’s a question of necessity.”
Guyana has been without a Chancellor and Chief Justice for many years, even while President Granger was in Opposition. Former acting Chancellor and Chief Justice were all denied the affirmative post by the main Opposition political party at that time.
Article 127 (1) of the Constitution states that “The Chancellor and the Chief Justice shall be appointed by the President acting after obtaining the agreement of the Leader of the Opposition.”