The Guyana Bar Association (GBA) has written Chancellor of the Judiciary Yonette Cummings-Edwards objecting to joint training of judges and prosecutors, arguing that it could have the appearance that the judiciary is taking directions from the executive.
In correspondence dated April 25th, GBA Secretary Pauline Chase said it has come to the notice of the Association that a workshop for judges and prosecutors hosted by the Government of Guyana in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force was set for yesterday and today.
“The perception which will be created by the joint training of Judges and Prosecutors by the Government of Guyana and others …is that the Bench is being directed as to what has to be done to support the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regime. While this may not be so, the perception which will nonetheless be created can have damaging effects on the public confidence in the independence of the Judiciary and give rise to grounds for challenges under Article 144 of the Constitution”.
Article 144 pertains to provisions to secure protection of the law.
“While we appreciate that the bench may be sensitized to legislation, it is our respectful view that great care must be taken as to who the Bench is seen to be in association with and/or taking directions or guidance from. Intermingling, or once again, the perception of intermingling with the Executive is an inherently dangerous violation of the separation of powers and one which must be jealously guarded against.
“Further, we strongly believe that at no time should Prosecutors and Judges be jointly trained and/or seen to be jointly trained, their roles being different in the legal process”, the GBA said.
The letter added that it had no doubt that Chancellor (ag) Cummings would take the necessary steps to address the situation.