Judiciary condemns PM’s statement that “judge’s action smacks of vendetta”
The Supreme Court of Judicature has condemned statements published in the State-owned Guyana Chronicle attributed to Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, who was quoted as saying that “…the judge’s action smacks of vendetta”.
The Prime Minister, according to the article, was referring to Justice Priya Sewnarine-Beharry’s order that Finance Minister Winston Jordan pays DIPCON by July 8, 2019 or be jailed for 21 days.
The Judiciary said it is seriously concerned about the report in a press release on Thursday.
“The independence of the Judiciary and the rule of law must be maintained at all times. The Judiciary would like to emphasize that anyone who is dissatisfied with a judgement or a decision of a Court has a right of appeal, and this is the avenue by which a lawful challenge to any judgement or decision can be made. The Judiciary once again reaffirms its independence and integrity”.
However, Guyana Chronicle has since apologised and changed the article in its online version to say that the Prime Minister described the Court action against Jordan, not the decision of the judge, as “vendetta”.
This is not the first time the Supreme Court of Judicature has flogged the coalition Government for attempting to undermine its independence and integrity.
Only recently, the Judiciary issued a stinging rebuke rejecting the Government’s attempts to tarnish and discredit its reputation by using the photographs of two judges in a political campaign.
The two judges in question are Puisne Judges Justices Gino Persaud and Simone Morris-Ramlall. Their pictures were incorporated on a poster of 20 “young” public officials put together by A Partnership for National Unity/ Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) under the headline “Confidence in Youth Leadership” as part of their political campaign.
The advertisement bearing the two judges’ images was published, despite the fact that the Judiciary is autonomous in principle and keeps far away from politics to ensure judgements, when handed down, can be accepted as free from bias.
“The Supreme Court of Judicature is calling on members of the public to refrain from associating Judges and Judicial Officers with any political party or activity. The Judiciary reaffirms its independence and integrity and rejects any attempt to tarnish and discredit its reputation,” the statement less than two weeks ago added.