Guyana’s judicial system strengthened with appointment of 10 new judges

Guyana’s judicial sector is set to receive a significant boost with the addition of 10 new puisne judges, sworn in by President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali at his Shiv Chanderpaul Drive office, Georgetown on Wednesday.

President Ali highlighted the significance of the occasion, noting that eight out of the ten new judges are women, bringing the total representation of women in the judiciary to 70 per cent.

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali at the swearing in ceremony of the ten judges at his office at Shiv Chanderpaul Drive

“Today is a moment of global positioning for the judiciary of Guyana. It is the largest ceremony to bring in our new batch of judges since our independence. Eight of the ten who took the oath today are women,” the president underscored.

The newly appointed puisne judges are Nicola Pierre, Joy-Persaud Singh, Hessaun Sharifa Yasin, Sherdel Isaacs-Marcus, Deborah Kumar-Chetty, Priscilla Chandra-Hanif, Jacqueline Josiah-Graham, Zamilla Ally-Seepaul, Nigel Niles, and Peter Hugh.

Prior to this appointment, the judiciary comprised five men and seven women.

Currently, the positions of Chief Justice and Chancellor, the highest in the judiciary, are held by women.

President Ali; Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips; Attorney General, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC, Chancellor of the Judiciary, Yonette Cummings-Edwards, and Chief Justice Roxane George at the ceremony

President Ali highlighted that the elevation of women in society and their role in the judiciary should be intentional, not merely statistical.

With their contributions, the president expects the judiciary to operate more efficiently, reducing the backlog of court cases.

The head of state urged the judges to maintain impartiality and set legal precedents in their rulings.

Practice and application of theory is going to be a new dimension of your job that will test your capability, your character, and your resilience. It will test every fabric of your being,” the head-of-state told the judges.

President Ali also stressed the evolving nature of legal challenges in Guyana, particularly with the growth of sectors like oil, gas, and maritime, which will bring forth industrial and environmental cases.

President Ali hands over the instrument of appointment to one of the new judges, Sherdel Isaacs-Marcus

He called upon the judges to appreciate national development in their decision-making process, noting the importance of staying informed about the country’s economic and legal landscapes.

Because of the changes that are taking place around the country, the financial architecture of the country and its positioning…all of it the judiciary must be aware of, because in your line of work, reading is compulsory,” President Ali stressed.

Additionally, he highlighted the government’s substantial investment in judicial infrastructure and technology, which will enhance the efficiency and functionality of the judicial system.