Concerns are being raised about perceived bias involving a Guyana Government-hired lawyer in the appeal of a High Court decision on the no-confidence motion, on the grounds that he is a member of the body that hires and fires judges of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
Guyanese Attorney-at-Law Sanjeev Datadin told Demerara Waves Online News that Grenadian Sir Francis Alexis’ appearance before the Court of Appeal’s panel of judges – Chancellor Yonette Cummings-Edwards, Justice of Appeal Dawn Gregory and Justice of Appeal Rishi Persaud – could lead to perceptions of bias.
Sir Francis is a commissioner of the 11-member Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission (RJLSC), one of the key mechanisms that insulates the CCJ from political interference. “As a commissioner, I think he ought not to appear before judges in this matter, especially, which is likely to go to the Caribbean Court of Justice to be adjudicated upon by judges that he picked,” said Datadin.
Datadin argued that all of the judges are potentially aspiring to become a CCJ judge and more so, Chancellor Cummings-Edwards is also a member of the RJLSC. “She and him are commissioners together and that raises the ire of bias,” he said.
Datadin plans to raise his concerns if Sir Francis makes an appearance in the case of Compton Reid vs Barton Scotland.
Datadin added that there was no problem with the Chancellor sitting on the case, but the concern comes about if a commissioner, who decides on the prospects of her upward mobility, appears before her. He said he would not be mounting a legal challenge because that would contribute to a delay in hearing the matter concerning the passage of the no-confidence motion.