Bar Association condemns attack on CCJ

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President of the Guyana Bar Association, Teni Housty

Guyana’s legal community has come out in condemnation of public utterances domestically, regionally and internationally by various APNU/AFC stakeholders that are targeted against the Caribbean Court of Justice, stemming from legal proceedings with regards the country’s still to be concluded General and Regional Elections.

The public repudiation by the Guyana Bar Association was as a result of “the continuous, pervasive and escalated actions observed in both Guyana and most recently by way of a full-page advertisement in the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian of the 4th July, 2020.”

Calling “on all to hold their voices, respect the processes of the administration of justice and thereby cease and desist your injurious conduct,” the association noted that “parties outside of the litigation have resorted to multiple forms of media to provide comments and information to advance their respective cases.”

The Bar Association in a public statement on Monday—Caricom Day—noted that “this conduct is unreservedly condemned. Of even greater offence is the use of social media by members of the society to launch unnecessary, malicious and contemptuous attacks on sitting members of our Apex Court.”

The statement from the legal fraternity noted that “the course of justice and the administration of justice in legal proceedings are critical pillars on which the rule of law rests; The pillars of justice are intended to stand robustly after many of us are no longer of this earth, let not our conduct today cause harm to the administration of justice that it will take generations to remedy.”

According to the lawyers’ Association, it “denounces and censures all conduct and actions regarding pending proceedings which: are calculated to interfere with the administration of justice; are intended to prejudice the administration of justice; are made with the deliberate intention of interfering with the course of justice; are made carelessly or negligently without due regard for the integrity and processes associated with the pending proceedings; create a serious risk that the course of justice may be interfered with; prejudge the matters in issue before the Court; and undermine public confidence in the Court and or administration of justice.”

The advert sponsored by the coalition A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) called for the CCJ’s proceedings in the matter brought by the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) to be rejected and that Guyana’s Constitution must be preserved.

The sentiments were again replicated on Monday—Caricom Day—when APNU/AFC supporters in strongholds such as Buxton, Agricola and Linden protested the CCJ’s hearing of the case.