We have a right to question acting appointments where substantive ones require opposition leader’s concurrence

Dear Editor,

I refer to a letter written by Kevin Morgan, captioned ‘A lawyer can be elevated to senior counsel…’ (SN, May 26) in response to one from Earl John entitled ‘Instructive profiles should be published on selectees for silk’ (SN, May 24). In his letter Mr Morgan says this: “However, their non-appointment in no way affects the powers vested in the office they hold as the writer [Earl John] posited. Article 127 (2) of the constitution makes provision for the appointment of a judge to the office of chancellor or chief justice in the absence of a substantive holder. This is after meaningful consultations with the opposition leader. The appointee (ag) is then equipped with such powers and rights necessary for the performance of the duties of that office until a substantive appointment is made.”

It seems to have completely escaped the attention of Mr Morgan that the leader of the opposition did not agree to the appointment of Justice Carl Singh as chancellor, so that boat has already sailed, but what attracted my attention is that our laws say that the leader of the opposition must agree to these appointments. In this case he did not support the appointment of Carl Singh as chancellor, and what does Mr Jagdeo do?

He slaps Mr Corbin in the face and appoints Mr Singh to act in that position with all the powers that go with it, despite the non-assent of the leader of the opposition which is required by law.

As such I think that we do have a right to question the legality of these appointments to act in a position which requires the concurrence of the leader of the opposition, but which he has declined to give.

Whilst Mr Morgan concedes that they are enjoying all the powers as if they were occupying these positions substantively, he seems to be suggesting that they have acted well by giving solid opinions and have been applauded by the CCJ. Whether this is so or not is a matter for the legal community to comment on; my observation is that these two positions are administrative positions and that brings this matter into my area. Consequently I am forced to ask this question: has anyone seen an improvement in the administration of our judicial system since these acting appointments were made? It is that which should occupy our attention, not their decisions as judges.

 Yours faithfully,

Tony Vieira

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