By Tracey Khan – Drakes
[www.inewsguyana.com] –The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) continues to be heavily criticized for its decision to fire Magistrate Geeta Chandan – Edmond.
Chandan – Edmond received a dismissal letter from the JSC on February 20 – the same day she was scheduled to sentence Sam Hinds Jr, the son of Prime Minister Samuel Hinds.
As a result of this, sources close to the former Magistrate believe that the JSC’s decision seems like a well “orchestrated political plot.” Hinds Jr. was found guilty by Chandan – Edmond for the offence of unlawful wounding on February 06.
On February 13, the former Magistrate received a letter to appear before the JSC on February 18; following which she was dismissed.
According to the source, the reasons stated on paper for the dismissal appears to be a “cover up” of the JSC’s true motive. The source noted it appears as if the JSC executed directives from “higher up” in order to avoid any sentencing of the Prime Minister’s son.
The source revealed that the Probation Officer from the Ministry of Human Services & Social Security, who was dealing with Hinds Jr’s matter was under significant pressure also which resulted in her absence on one occasion from the matter.
iNews understands that the Probation Officer recommended a suspended sentence for Hinds Jnr, which was strange, since she always requested serious sentences for male offenders.
The former Magistrate was made to answer several allegations by the JSC, dating back to some six years. The allegations include her absence from a Magistrates’ meeting, medical leave during the period 5 – 7th June, 2013, absence of record due to sick leave, inability to deliver a decision in at least 19 matters, loss of minutes book, failure to respond to queries by immediate functional supervisor, the Chief Magistrate and departure from Guyana on January 20, 2013 without approval and a consequential absence from a magisterial engagement.
According to the source, the matter regarding Chandan – Edmond’s absence from a Magistrates’ meeting is a non issue as it was noted that it is not compulsory for Magistrates to attend this meeting.
The medical leave during the period of June 5 – 7, 2013 was submitted after Chandan – Edmond was refused bereavement leave by the Chancellor during the death of her Brother-in-law.
The source noted that this was given by a medical doctor; however, the Chancellor reportedly stated that the medical leave is given by a Doctor but has to be approved by him.
This has created outrage among many who are now questioning the role of the JSC as a legal or medical commission/board.
Justification was also given for her departure from Guyana on January 20, 2013. During this period iNews understands that Chandan-Edmond was placed on bed rest due to her complicated pregnancy leading up to her delivery by her doctor.
It was during this period that she left the country which ran into her maternity leave. Permission was sought to leave the country, however, it was refused by the Chancellor even though Chandan-Edmond was on bed rest and had to fly overseas to delivery her baby safely.
Upon her return to work, Chandan – Edmond discovered that her minutes book were missing; a report was immediately made by the former Magistrate in this regard.
The source noted that Magistrates are not the custodians of the Court’s minutes book, while iNews was reliably informed that the minutes book was stolen on purpose.
Young persons have taken to social media sites to vent their frustration at the issue and described it as ongoing victimization of young persons who have served and contributed immensely to the growth and development of Guyana.
They attributed this type of behavior to the brain drain situation that continues to grapple Guyana. Chandan – Edmond served ten years as a Magistrate prior to her dismissal.