have pointed out over and over that there is a positive correlation between social and economic development and an independent, efficient and competent judiciary. It was, therefore, refreshing when I read the report of Sir Dennis Byron’s speech at the 37th annual dinner, which was held at the Pegasus Hotel on November 11, 2017.
Sir Byron touched, in his speech, on many issues affecting the judiciary that is impeding the dispensation of justice.
The speech itself raised several issues, which should be commented on, for example, the situation of having the top two positions in the Judiciary with persons acting and not appointed for many years.
However, that will be the subject of a future article.
In this piece I would like to focus on the points raised by Sir Dennis Byron as it relates to the efficiency and the timely writing up of decisions by judges.
He made the point that the integrity of the judiciary is primarily a matter for regulation by the judiciary itself. He went on to say that it should not be necessary for the executive or the legislative to intervene.
However, he is quoted to have said:
“I observed that such interventions did occur in Guyana where, due to a perception of persistent and systemic delay in judgment delivery, the legislature passed legislation regulating the time that judges must make and deliver judgments…”.
I must say that Sir Byron was right in his observation.
It is more than a perception, though; it is indeed a fact that many cases have been completed, some after a long while, but yet judgments are not written up to complete the process. Many persons languish in jail awaiting trial due to the sloth in the administration of justice.
That piece of legislation was passed in the National Assembly by the PPP/C administration because of the recognition that such delays have on the economy.
Businesses suffer huge losses as a consequent of such long periods to conclude matters.
Not only big and small businesses suffer, but ordinary workers and farmers, people with families with modest income bases are forced to put their lives on hold.