Pro­spec­ti­ve Chan­cel­lor has ques­ti­o­na­ble re­cord

Times of Suriname - - ENGELS -

Amidst re­ports that he has been tip­ped to fill the po­si­ti­on of Chan­cel­lor of the Ju­di­ci­a­ry lo­cally, Gu­y­a­na­born Be­li­zean Chief Jus­ti­ce, Ken­neth Ben­ja­min is fa­cing cri­ti­cis­ms over­seas over lengthy de­lays in de­li­ve­ring ju­dg­ments.

Ac­cor­ding to a Be­li­zean news si­te (Aman­da­la) Ben­ja­min re­cent­ly ca­me un­der the scru­ti­ny of the Be­li­ze Bar As­so­ci­a­ti­on for al­le­ged mis­con­duct and de­lays in de­li­ve­ring ti­me­ly ju­dg­ments. The news out­let re­por­ted that last Sep­tem­ber the Be­li­zean Bar pas­sed a re­so­lu­ti­on calling on Ben­ja­min to de­li­ver de­lay­ed ju­dg­ments for 32 ca­ses that he has heard, but on which he has not yet is­sued a ru­ling. Ac­cor­ding to re­cent re­ports, the Chief Jus­ti­ce had at least one ca­se in which the ju­dg­ment has been de­lay­ed for three ye­ars. The Be­li­zean Bar had es­sen­ti­al­ly is­sued no con­fi­den­ce in the CJ and th­re­a­ten­ed to fi­le for his re­mo­val from of­fi­ce. The Be­li­zean CJ is cur­rent­ly un­der pres­su­re to com­ple­te the ca­ses by the 2018 legal year. By ear­lier this month, he had writ­ten 20 of the ju­dg­ments. The­re we­re a do­zen out­stan­ding ju­dg­ments. Ac­cor­ding to the news si­te, Jus­ti­ce Ben­ja­min‘s ca­ses, so­me of which da­te as far back as 2010 and will not be com­ple­ted by the end of the legal year next month. The is­sue has so­me im­pli­ca­ti­ons lo­cally as Ben­ja­min has been found to be fa­vou­red for the po­si­ti­on of Chan­cel­lor; he­re, a po­si­ti­on with high ad­mi­ni­stra­ti­ve de­mands. Con­cerns are being rai­sed, too, over his ques­ti­o­na­ble track re­cord. Gu­y­a­na al­rea­dy has its fair sha­re of pro­blems with un­de­li­ve­r­ed ju­dg­ments and ca­se bac­k­log.

In a re­cent com­ment on the mat­ter, At­tor­ney-at- law and news­pa­per Co­lum­nist, Ralph Ram­kar­ran, no­t­ed that Ben­ja­min is “no doubt… qua­li­fied to hold the post.” Ram­kar­ran a for­mer Spea­ker of the Na­ti­o­nal As­sem­bly, ho­we­ver sta­ted, that it is li­ke­ly that if se­lec­ted, the pro­spec­ti­ve Chan­cel­lor will ha­ve a num­ber of hurd­les to over­co­me. “The first would be the in­e­vi­ta­ble fal­lout from dis­pla­cing a po­pu­lar Chan­cel­lor (Ag), (Yo­net­te) Cum­mings-Ed­wards, who­se con­fir­ma­ti­on was an­ti­ci­pa­ted sup­por­ti­ve­ly by the en­ti­re legal pro­fes­si­on,” he said ad­ding that Cum­mingsEd­wards and Ac­ting Chief Jus­ti­ce, Roxan­ne Ge­or­geWilt­shi­re may be re­ver­ting to their ori­gi­nal posts as Ap­peal Ju­d­ges un­til one was se­lec­ted for ap­point­ment as Gu­y­a­na’s sub­stan­ti­ve CJ.


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