Five weeks before acting Chancellor Carl Singh goes into retirement, the government has advertised for suitable persons to apply for the post as well as that of the Chief Justice.
The closing date for applications is January 27, a mere two weeks away and this raises concern as to whether there will be adequate time to conduct interviews and consult with the Leader of the Opposition before February 23, when Justice Singh is due to retire.
President David Granger is already facing criticism over his failure to act on a list, submitted by the Judicial Service Commission last May, of nominees to fill four positions in the judiciary.
According to the advertisement, which appeared in yesterday’s Stabroek News and which was placed by the Ministry of Presidency, pursuant to Article 127 of the Constitution, the persons chosen for the two positions shall be appointed by the President, “acting after obtaining the agreement of the Leader of the Opposition.”
The advertisement stated that there is a vacancy for the office of the Chancellor and a similar situation will arise shortly for the office of the Chief Justice. At present, Justice Yonette Edwards-Cummings is the acting Chief Justice. She was sworn into office by President Granger in December, 2015.
She replaced Justice Ian Chang, who was also acting Chief Justice when he retired. However, in his case the search for a replacement started three months before he proceeded on pre-retirement leave.
The advertisement said that pursuant to Article 129 of the Constitution, the minimum qualifications for the two posts are “(a) he or she is or has been a judge of a court having unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters in some part of the Commonwealth or a court having jurisdiction in appeals from any such court or (b) he or she is qualified for admission as an attorney at law in Guyana and has been so qualified for such a period as may be prescribed by Parliament.”
The closing date is January 27. Applications can be sent by electronic mail to email@example.com or be submitted by hand and addressed to the Minister of State, Ministry of the Presidency, Shiv Chanderpaul Drive and New Garden Street, Georgetown.