Dharmlall’s criticism of Appeal Court judges violates judiciary’s independence-AFC

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 December 2021, 12:04 by Denis Chabrol

The Alliance For Change (AFC) on Wednesday said Local Government Minister Nigel Dharamlall’s call for two Guyana Court of Appeal judges to be removed smacks of executive  interference and intimidation of the Judiciary. 

“Dharamlall’s statement is also viewed as an open attempt to intimidate Judges into ruling in the government’s favour. It threatens the independence of our Judiciary,” the AFC said.

Mt Dharamlall has already defended his call for Chancellor of the Judiciary, Yonette Cummings and Justice of Appeal Dawn Gregory to be “defrocked” as his democratic right to freely express his views.

But the AFC, in condemning Mr. Dharamlall’s position as “racist” against two Black female judges.

The AFC, which is a coalition partner with the People’s National Congress Reform-led A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), said the sitting minister’s view as an attack against judges who exercise their independence and is a clear indication of the arrogance of the Ali government.”

In a majority 2-1 decision, the Court of Appeal said it could properly hear an appeal of the High Court’s  dismissal of an APNU+AFC election petition on procedural grounds. Justice of Appeal Rishi Persaud dissented.

Saying that it has always upheld the doctrine of separation of powers and respect for the judiciary and judicial officers even when judgements passed are not in our favour, the AFC said it finds it “abominable that a sitting minister of government believes that he can attack Judges of our Court especially our women Judges without fear of reprisal.”

The AFC demanded a full apology to the Justices of Appeal and called on tge President, Attorney General, Guyana Bar Association, Women Lawyers Association, Human Rights Association and other leading civil society groups and individuals to condemn Minister Dharamlall for his statement.