Newly appointed JSC members to ease burdens on Guyana’s judicial system

The members of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) were sworn in on Friday, and the body is expected to play a significant role in reducing the burdens being shouldered by Guyana’s judicial system.

The members who took their oaths of office before President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, at his office include Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag), Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George, Justice of Appeal (Ret’d) Beasraj Singh Roy, Justice of Appeal (Ret’d) Carl Singh and Chairman of the Public Service Commission, Manniram Prashad.

His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, flanked by Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, SC, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira, and Members of the Judicial Service Commission

President Ali lamented the deficiency of court judges in the judiciary, noting that the newly-appointed JSC will be instrumental in addressing these deficiencies.

“Our judicial system is not without its challenges. We are woefully short of our full complement of judges and magistrates. This naturally has placed greater burdens on our existing pool of judicial officers. Now that the JSC is in place, it is anticipated that some of those burdens will be lifted, thereby allowing for smooth turning of the wheels of justice,” he said.

The JSC is a constitutional body responsible for handling matters related to the appointment, discipline, removal, and promotion of judicial officers.

Article 199 of Guyana’s Constitution empowers the JSC to make appointments to the office of Commissioner of Title, Magistrate, Director of Public Prosecutions, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Registrar of the High Court, Deputy Registrar of the High Court, Registrar of Deeds, Deputy Registrar of Deeds, and other such offices.

It also has the power to remove and exercise disciplinary control over persons holding or acting in these positions.

The head of state also pledged the government’s continuous support in advancing the agenda of the JSC by creating the enabling environment for safe, efficient, transparent, and reliable processes of the judiciary.

Highlighting the importance of the judiciary as an independent body responsible for upholding democracy and the rule of law, the president charged the newly appointed members of the JSC to safeguard the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judicial system.

He said as the country continues along its modernisation path, it is crucial that each arm of the government functions at a pace that is consistent with rapid development.

“For this to be done, we need the right complement of human resources. We need the right structure; we need the right technology and the right system.”

The members of the JSC will hold office for three years and Dr. Ali stressed that through its appointment, the independence of the judiciary has been fortified, and the body will now be able to further support Guyana’s democracy.