Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, on Thursday, distanced himself from the “perceived scandalous attacks” launched by the Guyana Chronicle Newspaper on Acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Carl Singh, over some of his most recent decisions handed down.
“As Prime Minister with responsibility for the State Media, I want to say this: While I will not interfere with editorial discretion, I want to disassociate myself from the perceived scandalous attacks in the Chronicle Newspaper against the Acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, who will less than a month from now, demit his substantive post as Chief Justice at the end of a distinguished career,” Nagamootoo said.
Nagamootoo who is currently acting President was delivering the feature address on Thursday morning at the opening of the Police Officers’ Conference said that Government does not encourage attacks on the Legislature and the Judiciary as it is not “Government’s policy or decision to besmirch the character of any judicial officer.”
He added that the attacks will not be condoned, however well-meaning or veiled, to impugn the integrity of judicial officers.
Prime Minister Nagamootoo boasted that the government has been leading the way in ensuring the independence of both the Legislature and the Judiciary and making them financially and administratively autonomous.
Various stakeholders, including the Parliamentary Opposition, have recently called out the State-owned Guyana Chronicle for what they refer to as “an obscene and libelous- if not dishonest- campaign” against Justice Singh.
In particular, Senior Counsel (SC) and former Speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran over the weekend, in his conversationtree.org blog, slammed the Judiciary, Bar Association and general public over their silence on the recent attacks, saying “if not arrested now, they will only get worse”.
According to Ramkarran, the alarming developments cannot be ignored and are in fact unprecedented in their savagery.
Ramkarran noted that “this open, blatant and shameless intimidation is not meant only for this Chancellor (Carl Singh)… It is a message to the next Chancellor and Chief Justice who will be appointed shortly, and for the entire Judiciary, to toe the line.”
Ramkarran said that “What is worse is that a lawyer, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, who has responsibility for information and the power to stop the Guyana Chronicle since it started its disgraceful campaign several weeks ago, has allowed it to continue… The only conclusion is that the Guyana Chronicle’s rampage against the Chancellor, and subversion of the Judiciary, is official Government policy.”
Ramkarran observed too that his successor as Speaker of the National Assembly in 2011 in the person of now Natural Resources and Environment Minister Raphael Trotman — an Attorney-at-Law “who also should know better, abandoned principle, joined the bandwagon and threatened that Cabinet will ‘note’ the Chancellor’s decisions”.
He said the Chancellor, apparently acting with restraint and dignity, has not summoned the Guyana Chronicle and the Attorney General before the Court of Appeal to answer charges of contempt, as he ought to have done.
INews photographer Carl Croker was at the Police Officers’ Conference this morning and captured the following scenes: