Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 June 2022, 17:14 by Denis Chabrol
Vice Chairman of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Vinceroy Jordan on Wednesday moved to the High Court to challenge President Irfaan Ali’s failure to consult the Opposition Leader on making permanent the appointments of Chancellor and Chief Justice.
Through his lawyers Roysdale Forde and Selwyn Pieters, Mr. Jordan wants the court to order the President to consult with the Opposition Leader on having permanently appointed judicial officers. “An Order directed to the President through the Attorney General compelling the President to forthwith initiate the process contemplated by Article 127 of the Constitution in order that the offices of Chancellor and Chief Justice be held by persons with permanent appointments,” the court document states.
Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton has already written to the President expressing his full support for Justice of Appeal Yonette Cummings and Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire to be permanently appointed Chancellor and Chief Justice respectively. They have been acting in those positions for several years.
Mr. Jordan also wants the High Court to declare that since Dr Ali assumed office on August 2, 20202 he has failed to engage in any constitutional process to obtain the Opposition Leader’s agreement so that the offices of Chancellor and Chief Justice are held by permanent appointments.
Such a failure by the President to consult, according to Mr Jordan, should also be declared by the High Court as a “a gross dereliction and abdication of the duty of the President under the Constitution.”
With Guyana being without a permanent Chief Justice and Chancellor since 2005, the applicant also wants the High Court to find that in the event that there are no persons holding a permanent appointment or persons holding an acting appointment to the offices of Chancellor and or Chief Justice, the President is under a continuous constitutional duty and obligation to “forthwith initiate the process contemplated by Article 127 of the Constitution in order that the said offices be held by persons with permanent appointments.”
In a separate statement, Mr Forde said legal action was taken because the government is setting a bad example in the area of good governance. “It is deliberately refusing to engage the opposition in an action- consult with the Leader of the Opposition on the offices of Chancellor and Chief Justice- for which it has a legal obligation to do, under the constitution. How can the government talk about the rule of law and respect for the constitution when the President is blatantly disregarding the very constitution he swore to protect?”
Further, he said the legal action was important because a fair and independent judicial branch with the Chancellor and the Chief Justice properly appointed is a cornerstone of our democratic system of good government.