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Jagdeo blocks Granger’s nominees for Chancellor, Chief Justice

Chief Justice of Belize, Guyanese Kenneth Benjamin. He is also a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda where he once served as Chief Magistrate.

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo has blocked the appointment of President David Granger’s nominees for the posts of Chancellor of the Judiciary and Chief Justice.

Jagdeo on Wednesday informed Granger by letter that he could not support the appointment of Justice Kenneth Benjamin as Chancellor of the Judiciary and Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards as Chief Justice.

“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 the two judges to those positions, Jagdeo told Granger in a letter released to the media.

Acting Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire did not apply for either post. Cummings-Edwards is currently acting Chancellor.

Acting Chancellor of the Judiciary Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards (right) and Acting Chief Justice Roxanne George-Wiltshire (left)

Guyana’s constitution requires the Opposition Leader’s approval before the President’s nominees can be appointed to those two top judicial positions.

Concerns have been raised in Belize by the Bar Association there about Benjamin’s failure up to recently to clear a back-log of writing his decisions.

Jagdeo did not give Granger for his decision not to back Benjamin and Cummings-Edwards.

The Opposition Leader, however, told the President that he would be available for further talks on those judicial posts. Jagdeo plans to hold a news conference on Thursday to deal with the matter.

 

“Please be informed that I remain cognizant of the fundamental importance of securing substantive appointments to these two high constitutional offices. As a result, I am committed to continuous engagement with your Excellency until there is due compliance with Article 127 (1) of the Constitution,” Jagdeo said.

The country’s two top politicians should have met again Wednesday after their first meeting on the subject last month. However, Jagdeo said he did not receive the customary confirmation and so he did not turn up for the talks.