Prime Minister distances government from attack on Acting CJ by state owned Newspaper
Prime Minster and Acting President, Moses Nagamootoo is attempting to clarify that the present administration has no issue with the judicial arm of government and its business.
on January 18, the Guyana Chronicle published a story with headline “Singh strikes twice, throws out Jagdeo’s race-baiting appeal case” after Justice Singh made a decision to throw out an appeal against the decision of the High Court last year to free Jagdeo of a race-baiting charge.
The Newspaper has since removed the story from their website following concerns being raised about the posture of the state-owned entity.
Subsequently, at the weekend, former Speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran in his blog stated that the Prime Minister has the responsibility for information and the power to stop the Chronicle since it started its disgraceful campaign several weeks ago but he “has allowed it to continue”. Ramkarran said his “only conclusion is that the Chronicle’s rampage against the Chancellor, and subversion of the Judiciary, is official Government policy…the Chancellor and Judiciary are subject to public scrutiny and criticism. But these attacks are unprecedented in their savagery.”
But Nagamootoo said “As Prime Minister with responsibility for the state media, I want to say this, while I would not interfere with editorial discretion, I disassociate myself from perceived strobilus attacks in the Chronicle newspapers 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 his distinguish career.”
The Prime Minister was at the time addressing the opening of the Annual Police Officers’ Conference on Thursday (January 26, 2017).
Nagamootoo was quick to point out that in any democratic society it is normal for a government to criticise “decisions emanating from courts” like any citizen. This he views as being far from an attack.
According to the Prime Minister “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.”
“Government would not condone attempts, however, well-meaning or veiled, to impugn the integrity of judicial officers,” said Nagamootoo.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Basil Williams was quoted previously in the local media that he will file another appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice on the matter.
Justice Carl Singh is expected to demit office in February after attaining the age of 65.