‘Burden on judiciary’ to be lifted as members of Judicial Service Commission sworn in

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The members of the long-anticipated Judicial Service Commission (JSC) were sworn in on Friday and President Dr. Irfaan Ali believes that the burden shouldered by Guyana’s judges and magistrates will be lifted shortly.

The members of this Commission are: Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag), Yonette Cummings- Edwards; Chief Justice (ag), Roxane George; Chairman of the Public Service Commission (PSC), Manniram Prashad; former Chancellor, Justice Carl Singh and Chairman of the Law Reform Commission, Justice Beasraj Singh Roy.

The reconstitution of this Commission comes as several public figures, including judicial officers, have lamented the dire need for more Judges to dispose of criminal proceedings in a timely manner since the number of cases on trial has increased significantly over the years. This impacts the efficient delivery of justice.

This was acknowledged by President Ali.

“We’re woefully short of our full complement of Judges and Magistrates.

“This naturally has placed a burden on the existing (Judges and Magistrates),” Dr. Ali said while offering brief remarks after the Commissioners were sworn in at his Shiv Chanderpaul Drive office in Georgetown.

And with the JSC now in place, he said it is anticipated that some of the burdens faced will be lifted and there should now be a “smooth turning of the wheels of justice.”

The Ex-officio members of the Commission are Justice Cummings- Edwards, Justice George and Mr. Prashad. The Chairman of the Commission is Justice Cummings- Edwards.

Prashad was sworn in as a Commissioner of the PSC on Thursday; he was later elected the Chairman of the Commission. As Chairman, he is also part of the JSC and the Police Service Commission.

Meanwhile, Justice Singh Roy is the Chairman of the Law Reform Commission. He was nominated by the National Assembly to serve on the JSC following consultations with the bodies that represent lawyers in Guyana.

The Commissioners will serve on the JSC for a period of three years.

The JSC is tasked with advising the President on the appointment of Judges with the exception of the Chancellor of the Judiciary and the Chief Justice. It also exercises disciplinary control over persons in judicial offices.

During the recent visit of Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Judges to Guyana, the heavy workload of Judges and other judicial officers was acknowledged too.

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