Jagdeo ‘concerned’ over president’s silence on appointments of Chancellor, Chief Justice

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has said that he has gotten no word from President David Granger on consultations for the appointments of the Chancellor and Chief Justice and he is concerned about this delay.

“I haven’t gotten any word from him,” Jagdeo told reporters on Friday, while noting that it is the President who has to initiate the process.

“The thing is that there are lots of things I’m not hearing from the President on and I am concerned about all of them,” he added.

A panel, comprising retired justices Claudette Singh and James Patterson along with former University of Guyana Vice-Chancellor Harold Lutchman, was set up to review the applications received and recommend to Granger a candidate for each of the two posts. Government, weeks before acting Chancellor Justice Carl Singh retired, had invited persons to apply for the two positions. The applications for both posts were closed in January.

Asked for an update on the appointments almost two weeks ago, Granger stated that the panel had interviewed some applicants and the recommendations have been made. It is unclear how many persons applied for the two posts and whether the bulk are locally-based. Stabroek News has since confirmed that at least two overseas-based Guyanese judicial officers had applied for the post of Chancellor and one is likely to be the successful candidate.

At present, Justice Roxane George SC is acting as Chief Justice, while Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards is the acting Chancellor

The President spoke of a successful applicant but did not identify for which post. He said that the person was being contacted to determine whether he would accept the nomination.

Granger declined to name the person, saying that he could not do so without the approval of the candidate. “Of course I would like to have the opportunity to consult with the Leader of the Opposition,” he added.

Asked how soon the public could see those appointments being made, he said that he expected by early August.

Under Article 127(1) of the Constitution, the President needs to obtain the agreement of the Opposition Leader before appointing both office holders following consultations.

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