– says will be done after establishment of service commissions
President Dr Irfaan Ali has stated that he would be engaging the Leader of the Opposition, Aubrey Norton, on the appointments of the Chancellor and Chief Justice (CJ) when the time is right, and after the various service commissions are established.
At a press conference on Monday last, Norton expressed his support for the confirmation of Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards as Chancellor and Justice Roxane George as Chief Justice. They are currently acting in their respective positions.
“In recognition of the importance and necessity of making permanent appointments to the offices of Chancellor and Chief Justice, we restate our commitment to agreeing to the immediate appointment of Justices Yonette Cummings-Edwards and Roxanne George as the Chancellor and Chief Justice respectively,” the Opposition Leader has stated.
Article 127 (1) of the Constitution of Guyana states: “The Chancellor and the Chief Justice shall each be appointed by the President, acting after obtaining the agreement of the Leader of the Opposition.”
According to President Ali, consultations are currently ongoing for the service commissions, after which he would engage the Opposition Leader on the judicial appointments.
“We have no issues appointing (the Chancellor and Chief Justice), but when the right time comes, we will have the consultations on the Chancellor and the Chief Justice. The consultation (with the Opposition Leader so far) was on the Commissions,” the President has said. “The President asked for consultations on those commissions (specifically),” the Head of State told reporters on Friday at State House.
On May 13, President Ali and Opposition Leader Norton met for the first time to consult on the appointments of the various service commissions, including the Judicial Service Commission, Police Service Commission, Teaching Service Commission and the Integrity Commission. At the time, the two leaders had agreed to consult, in keeping with the Constitution, which stipulates that meaningful consultation be held on the appointments of these Service Commissions.
In fact, Norton had requested additional information on the nominees, and this was provided to him.
However, when the Head of State invited the Opposition Leader last Monday for a second meeting, Norton failed to show, citing that he was busy. As a result, President Ali went ahead and appointed the Police Service Commission and the Integrity Commission the following day, when the members were sworn-in.
Asked about the appointments of the other commissions on Friday, the Guyanese Leader said consultations were completed.
“I have completed consultations on those that were before the process, including the three names for the Teaching Service Commission and one name for the Judicial Service Commission,” the President indicated.
Meanwhile, Norton has since indicated his intention to legally challenge last week’s appointments of the Police Service Commission and the Integrity Service Commission. The Members of the PSC were selected and approved by the National Assembly, and the two leaders were required to meet and appoint a chairman from among the names.