Jagdeo will not stymie the work of the judiciary – Harmon
Following the rejection of the two names for the top judicial positions in the country, President David Granger is preparing for the next steps that could see appointments being made.
According to State Minister, Joseph Harmon, yesterday, President Granger will be writing Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo, informing him that another level of consultations will be held before the appointment of a substantive Chancellor of the Judiciary and Chief Justice.
Nominee for Chancellor: Justice Kenneth Benjamin
This follows Jagdeo’s no-show at a scheduled meeting on Wednesday at State House, relating to the appointment of the selected persons for the top judicial positions.
On January 3, 2018, at a meeting with the Head of State, the Opposition Leader asked for one month to conduct due diligence regarding the two nominees – Justices Kenneth Benjamin and Yonette Cummings-Edwards for the posts of Chancellor and Chief Justice respectively.
Minister Harmon made it clear that “the work of the judiciary will not be held in abeyance or will not be stymied by any interventions whatsoever.”
He noted that the Opposition Leader’s rejection of the nominees is constitutional as are the powers of the President.
“Where agreement cannot be met, there is a second level which now requires meaningful consultations, so I believe that is the next step we will have to go to,” Minister Harmon said.
The 63-year-old Guyana-born Justice Benjamin is currently serving as Chief Justice of Belize, following his appointment to head Belize’s judiciary in 2011 and has been practising law for 39 years.
Justice Cummings-Edwards has in excess of 28 years of legal and judicial experience and service to Guyana. She began her legal career as a State Prosecutor and Legal Adviser in the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and subsequently served in various positions.
“There is a constitutional provision which we will look at. If, in fact, there is no agreement for them to be appointed in the substantive position, there is constitutional provision for them to be appointed otherwise.”