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Opposition MP asks High Court to order President to appoint Chancellor, Chief Justice

L-R: Vice-Chairman of the National Congress Reform (PNCR), Vinceroy Jordan and President Irfaan Ali

Vice-Chairman of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Vinceroy Jordan, on Wednesday, moved to the High Court, seeking to compel President Irfaan Ali, through Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC, to initiate the process of appointing a substantive Chancellor of the Judiciary and a Chief Justice.

Jordan, through his Attorneys-at-Law, Roysdale Forde and Selwyn Pieters, is seeking several declarations.

Among them is one that the President failed to engage in any process as required by Article 127 of the Constitution to obtain the agreement of Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton to ensure that persons hold the post of Chancellor and Chief Justice with permanent appointments.

Article 127 (1) of the Constitution states: “The Chancellor and the Chief Justice shall each be appointed by the President, acting after obtaining the agreement of the Leader of the Opposition.”

Jordan is seeking another declaration “that the failure of the President from the 2nd day of August 2020 to initiate the process contemplated by Article 127 of the Constitution in order that the offices of Chancellor and Chief Justice are held by persons with permanent appointments is a gross dereliction and abdication of the duty of the President under the Constitution.”

As such, the PNC/R’s Vice-Chair wants an order directed to President Ali through the Attorney General compelling him to initiate appointing the Chancellor and Chief Justice immediately.

Jordan also asks for costs and any further relief the Court deems just.

From 2005 to now, there has not been any substantive Chancellor and Chief Justice. The current Chancellor, Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, and Chief Justice Roxane George, SC, have both been acting in their respective positions for several years.

Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag) Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George and during the parade to open the Criminal Session of the Demerara Assizes [Photo: DPI]

There have been numerous calls for a substantive Chancellor and Chief Justice, with the latest coming from the President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Justice Adrian Saunders.

The Opposition Leader, earlier this month, said that a letter was dispatched to Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira, indicating his proposal for the current acting Chancellor and acting Chief Justice to be confirmed in their substantive posts.

However, President Ali had said that he had no issue appointing a Chancellor and Chief Justice, but this would be done following the appointments of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).


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