Constitutional reform lobby group RISE Guyana Inc is urging both President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo to use the “meaningful consultation” provided for in the Constitution to arrive at a consensus on the appointment of the Chancellor and Chief Justice.
“RISE Guyana urges the President and the Leader of the Opposition to use the opportunity for meaningful consultation to reach a consensus which will assure citizens that the democratic process is sacrosanct,” the group said in a statement that was issued yesterday. “No good purpose will be served if leading judges find themselves named in proceedings alleging breaches of the Constitution. RISE Guyana stands ready to assist in moving the process forward,” it added.
The statement, issued by Rise Guyana members Terrence Campbell, Marcel Gaskin, Ede Tyrell, Nadia Sagar, Renata Chuck-a-Sang, Luana Falconer, Jainarine Singh and Wil Campbell, comes in wake of Jagdeo’s withholding of agreement to the substantive appointments of Justice Kenneth Benjamin and Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards as Chancellor and Chief Justice, respectively.
Article 127 (1) of the Constitution requires agreement between the President and the Opposition Leader on the appointment of both office holders.
In its statement, RISE Guyana said it was concerned about the recent developments surrounding the appointments.
It also noted that as far back as early 2017, it appeared that the president had already reached a “predetermined position with limited scope for disagreement” on the appointment of Justice Benjamin, without the benefit of the consultative process with Jagdeo.
RISE said Article 127 (2), which allows for the appointment of judges to both posts after meaningful consultation, will now serve to guide the leaders as they deliberate to arrive at a consensus. “‘Meaningful consultation’ must now be relied upon to ensure that the fears of unilateral appointment are assuaged,” it added.
While emphasising the need for substantive appointments, President Granger said last week that he is going to be receiving legal advice on the matter.