Justice of Appeal Claudette Singh resigned from her judicial post at the Court of Appeal and as a High Court judge effective from yesterday after months of speculation surrounding her departure.
Justice Singh will take up a position within the chambers of the Attorney General spearheading an Inter-American Development Bank project aimed at improving the local justice system.
The Court of Appeal will continue to function in her absence with Acting Chancellor and Chief Justice Carl Singh, who is a member of the court, filling the vacant position of third sitting Justice of Appeal.
No new appointments to the court are expected soon since the life of the Judicial Service Commission, which has the responsibility of appointing judges, expired in February and the body has since been non-existent.
Responding to Justice Singh’s resignation yesterday, the Acting Chancellor told Stabroek News that she was undoubtedly an asset to the judiciary and the legal system, adding that Guyana is poorer with her departure. He noted that she was a distinguished judge who was assiduous and dedicated in performing the functions of Appeal and Supreme Court judge.
“Justice Claudette Singh and I were able to hold our head above the political wrangling surrounding the appointment of Chancellor. Our relationship has been cordial and pleasant and I will miss her,” Justice Singh added.
The Chief Justice pointed out that the Judicial Service Commission should have been reconstituted and performing its functions but has instead been non-existent given the current political situation in the country.
Responding to a letter written by former Chief Magistrate K. A. Juman-Yassin and published in Stabroek News’ edition yesterday, Justice Singh said the former magistrate’s statement faulting him over the situation at the Court of Appeal was precipitate and unfortunate since it is not within his power to fill the vacancy that will be created by Justice Claudette Singh’s departure.
In the letter, Juman-Yassin pointed out that the complement in the Court of Appeal should be five judges – the Chancellor and four other judges but the local court has only had an acting Chancellor and three judges for some three years now.
Justice Singh said this is correct but noted that three judges can sit in civil and criminal matters. However if a matter of critical importance comes up before the court the full complement is required. (Iana Seales)