President David Granger has pronounced on the matter brewing between Attorney General (AG) and Legal Affairs Minister, Basil Williams and his predecessor, Anil Nandlall, over the role of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) in the appointment of Registrars of the Commercial and Deeds Registry.
While he did not comment directly to the issue of the appointment of Attorney Zanna Frank, the Head of State said he will be taking advice from his Attorney General.
Both Williams and Nandlall have been fighting tooth and nail over the role of the JSC, which is currently taking a backlash from the AG, for appointing what he said was an unqualified and inexperienced person to the post of Deputy Registrar of the Deeds Registry.
Williams raised the issue during a meeting with the press on Monday, and said the role and powers of the JSC needed to be reined in, as it does not have the power to make such appointments. In fact, Williams said the powers given to the JSC were not in the 1980 and 1996 Constitutions and was only passed on during the tenure of the previous People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Administration.
On his weekly televised programme, the “Public Interest ” on Thursday, President Granger said he will be advised by his Attorney General; however, he stated that “in most western jurisdictions, there’s a line between the Judiciary and the Executive and the Legislative arms of Government. What the AG has pointed to is that there is a blurring of the line between the Judicial and the Executive branches”.
Williams said the powers held by the JSC in this regard will have to be looked at and be quickly removed from the law. He said the Deeds Registry is an autonomous body which falls under the Executive arm of the State, and that the JSC is a part of the Judicial branch.
In a most recent response, Nandlall again maintained that the JSC was in the right in its move to appoint.
“There is no obligation placed upon the JSC to consult with the AG or any other person in respect of this appointment. Secondly, he alleges that ‘the JSC was acting excessively and out of their jurisdiction’. This contention is incomprehensible. A tribunal acts in excess of and without jurisdiction if it makes a decision that it has no lawful power to make.”
He summarised Article 199 of the Constitution, which he said, clearly vests in the JSC the power to appoint a Deputy Registrar of Deeds.