With increasing calls for constitutional reform following the events of the 2020 General and Regional Elections, as well as the Government’s overarching goal of reforming and improving the electoral system, the AG has hinted that Guyana will look at mechanisms used to appoint a chancellor of the judiciary and chief justice.
Consultations on Guyana’s electoral laws are ongoing as Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall recently concluded a four-hour national stakeholder consultation on draft amendments to the National Registration Act and Representation of the People’s Act.
This occurs amidst calls to focus on wider election and constitutional changes. He promises these matters will be addressed in due course.
“Whether residency should be a qualification to vote, the qualifications of the electors, the type of political system we have in the country in which we want to change; are all matters of a constitutional nature.”
One of the constitutional issues the Attorney General hopes to address is the article that speaks to the appointment of a chancellor and a chief justice.
Noting that a two-thirds majority is needed to change those provisions in the Constitution, he references the longstanding deadlock between any government and the opposition over the appointments of a chancellor and a chief justice.
Guyana has been without a substantive Chief Justice and Chancellor for over two decades. The absence of permanent appointees to fill the top position remains a “significant blot,” on the justice system.
Noting that the Constitutional reform bill is already before the National Assembly and will be dealt with next year, the Attorney General stated that the importance of statutory consultations must not be overlooked in the interim.
“This engagement cannot address those matters. I ask that we have patience, understand the process, control our expectations, circumscribe our public admonitions and confine and narrow them to the exercise in which we are engaged.”
These are part of the Governments plans to upgrade archaic pieces of legislation, in efforts to develop the legal sector apace with intersectional development of all sectors as Guyana suits up for projected rapid economic development.