Gates’ role ac­knowl­edged

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Chief Jus­tice An­thony Gates was yes­ter­day pub­licly ac­knowl­edged by At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum for lead­ing the Fi­jian ju­di­ciary through test­ing times. Speak­ing at the sign­ing cer­e­mony and launch of the Euro­pean Union – Fiji Ac­cess to Jus­tice Pro­gramme, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum ac­knowl­edged Chief Jus­tice Gates for lead­ing the Fi­jian ju­di­ciary at a time when mem­bers of the pro­fes­sion had re­fused to join the ju­di­ciary- fear­ing travel bans.

Chief Jus­tice Gates was ap­pointed to the po­si­tion in 2008. Aus­tralia and New Zealand were some of the coun­tries which had placed travel bans on any­one who had taken up em­ploy­ment in the Ju­di­ciary. Travel bans were also placed on fam­ily mem­bers of those who took up em­ploy­ment.

“I pub­licly ac­knowl­edge the CJ who has been the Chief Jus­tice since 2008 - through some very try­ing times. He had to run a ju­di­ciary that was po­lit­i­cally in­ter­fered with by the peo­ple from out­side. We had mem­bers of the pro­fes­sion who did not join the ju­di­ciary be­cause there was a fear of travel bans. “The re­al­ity though is there was lack of un­der­stand­ing. What­ever po­lit­i­cal dif­fer­ences there may be at a bi­lat­eral or mul­ti­lat­eral level, the re­al­ity is the coun­try con­tin­ues to func­tion. A coun­try does not stop and I have to pub­li­cally ac­knowl­edge the CJ for help­ing us through those try­ing times. And he held the sup­port de­spite all the pres­sure, de­spite some­times the ridicule.” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said is­sues such as court clerks ac­cept­ing bribes, fo­rum shop­ping which were said to be hap­pen­ing, was no longer the case now un­der the lead­er­ship of Chief Jus­tice Gates. Edited by Maraia Vula

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