Acting CJs should be confirmed in positions; public application process absurd – Dr. Luncheon

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[www.inewsguyana.com] – Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon on Wednesday (January 8) reiterated calls for acting Chancellor of the Judiciary Justice Carl Singh and acting Chief Justice Ian Chang to be confirmed in the substantive positions.

The two have been acting in the respective positions for almost a decade now.

Acting Chief Justice Ian Chang
Acting Chief Justice Ian Chang

Dr. Luncheon reminded that it is the intention of President Donald Ramotar to confirm Singh and Chand in the positions, adding that it has been met with rejection by Opposition Leader David Granger during consultation on the issue.

The President is mandated by the Constitution to consult with the Opposition Leader when seeking to fill these two senior posts of the judiciary.

Granger has proposed that a public application process be embarked upon in filling the positions. However, this suggestion has been rejected by the President. In face of this apparent ‘standoff’ on the issue the positions remain vacant and the two esteem Justices continue to occupy the post in an acting capacity.

The Cabinet Secretary questioned why after acting for all those years a public application process must be embarked upon. “What are we saying by this proposal, after all these years I can’t conceive going to the two and saying that they are not fit for the position and will have to compete in an open process, what about the notion of security of tenure.”

Dr. Luncheon added that there is no other country in and out of the Region that has an open application process for selecting person for the two offices and according to him is not the intention of the administration to be the trail blazers in that regard. “My grandmother used to tell me not to be the first to abandon the old and we will certainly not be the last, there must be those who have done it before so that we can look and see what are the advantages and disadvantages.”

Acting Chancellor Carl Singh
Acting Chancellor Carl Singh

Singh is the country’s substantive Chief Justice, but when he was called to be acting Chancellor, Chang was called to act as Chief Justice. Chang is a substantive Court of Appeal Judge.

Opposition Leader David Granger remains resolute in shifting the way the Chief Justice and Chancellor are appointed, namely that their positions be advertised and they could then undergo a selection process.

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