Substantive appointments to the positions of Chancellor of the Judiciary and Chief Justice remain a distant prospect as the government and the opposition are still divided on the way forward.
The positions have been held in acting capacities for the last eight years by Justices Carl Singh and Ian Chang, respectively.
Opposition Leader David Granger yesterday maintained his stance that unless the positions are publicly advertised there would be no confirmation of nominees to the positions. The government has said that such a process is not catered for and it is prepared to confirm both of the present holders.
This can, however, not be done without the support of Granger. Article 127 of the Constitution says that the Chancellor and the Chief Justice shall each be appointed by the President, acting after obtaining the agreement of the Leader of the Opposition.
“The situation is not a new situation… It has been on the table for eight years. There are reasons by my predecessors why …I inherited a situation of gridlock and I proposed to President [Donald] Ramotar a means of breaking the gridlock and moving forward,” Granger said yesterday.
Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon at last Wednesday’s post Cabinet press briefing had stated that while President Ramotar is committed to having the positions filled substantively, the opposition had stalled the process with it proposal for public applications.
“The President has made those intentions known during consultations with the Leader of the Opposition. The Leader of the Opposition has alternatively proposed a public application process for the filling of those two posts that would provide the security of tenure of the Chancellor and the Chief Justice,” Luncheon said.
“In the face of the repeated objections and the undertaking by the Leader of the Opposition not to accept the President’s proposal for the appointments… it is a fact that the substantive positions would remain vacant and the untenable situation of the highest position of the judiciary in the land being held by an officer without security of tenure is before the people of Guyana and specifically the current acting post holders,” he added.
The Opposition Leader yesterday stressed that his position was one in the interest of transparency. “In the interest of transparency I would like to see the post advertised and the best person selected for those two posts… I am confident if he accepts that recommendation, we will soon have a chancellor with which the whole population is happy,” he said.
Questioned if the opposition’s unyielding position was because it had no confidence in the two acting justices, Granger said, “I have confidence in the mechanism that I recommended… I would like to break the gridlock and move forward and I made a recommendation that would take the process forward. It’s not a matter of expressing confidence in one person or the other it’s a matter of dealing with a situation that has been on the table for eight years. ”
He said too that he reserves his right not to give a reason why the opposition would not give in to appointing the two men. “The constitution doesn’t require me to divulge my reason the President didn’t have to give me reasons for his nominations I didn’t have to give the President reasons for my recommendation,” he stated.