Process to activate JSC to commence when Parliament reconvenes

The process to activate the long-anticipated Judicial Service Commission (JSC) will be expedited when the National Assembly reconvenes.

This was disclosed by Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Anil Nandlall, SC.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, SC

During his remarks at the recommissioning of the Mibikuri Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, the minister acknowledged the shortage of judges in the legal system, and highlighted the hindrance to the judicial process.

“I know that Berbice has been without a land court judge now for years, and that is completely unacceptable. However, I want to assure you that as soon as parliament resumes, the process to activate the judicial service commission will move swiftly. In fact, all the preparatory works have been done,” he assured.

The tenure of the previous JSC expired on September 12, 2017.

It was appointed by then President, Donald Ramotar on September 11, 2014. Members of that commission included Chief Justice (ag) Roxanne George, then President of the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU), Patrick Yarde, Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag) Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, Justice Prem Persaud and Justice Lennox Perry.

Article 198 (1) of the Constitution of Guyana states that the members must comprise the Chancellor of the Judiciary, who will be appointed as Chairman, the Chief Justice, the Chairman of the Public Service Commission, and any other members appointed to the commission.

The JSC’s abilities include the power to make appointments, to remove and to exercise disciplinary control over persons holding or acting within the offices of Commissioner of Title, Director of Public Prosecutions, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Magistrate, Registrar of the High Court, Deputy Registrar of the High Court, Registrar of Deeds and Deputy Registrar of Deeds, among others.

The commission also advises the president on the appointment of judges, with the exception of the chancellor and the chief Justice.

The members of the Judicial Service Commission, were sworn in on Friday, July 1, 2022, by His Excellency, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali at the Office of the President, Shiv Chanderpaul Drive, Georgetown.

Currently, the nominee to fill the post of Chairperson of the Public Service Commission, who sits ex-officio as a member of the JSC is the only outstanding one within the commission.

The Attorney General stated, however, that the effective activation of the JSC is receiving the highest attention of the executive.

“We recognise that we can’t move this country forward without a proper-functioning, efficient and independent justice system. This institution is as central as any to democracy, development and social advancement of our people and our country. And therefore, we are committed to resourcing this institution so it delivers justice in time, efficiently and impartially,” the attorney general said.