Berbice Bar backs better pay for magistrates, judges

Guyana Chronicle
April 23, 2000

PRESIDENT of the Berbice Bar Association (BBA), Mr Mirza Sahadat, has called for a revision of salaries and allowances for magistrates and judges which fit their status.

Addressing the opening ceremony of the historic sitting of the Appeal Court in Berbice Wednesday, he outlined a number of initiatives the administration should adopt to preserve the services of these officials.

"The State must ensure that magistrates and judges are adequately paid and that they are given such amenities that are commensurate with their status which will include VIP status at all ports of entry, duty free concessions on personal vehicles, housing, access to a comprehensive library and a realistic travelling allowance," Sahadat suggested.

While stressing the need for those dispensing justice to be self-reliant and self-sufficient as a deterrent from compromising justice, so too should the bench be independent of any interference from the State, the BBA head said.

He said too that in the dispensation of justice all must be treated equally in the sight of the law which encourages respect for the rule of law.

He also echoed the call for lay magistrates to be appointed to reduce the petty litigation in the magistrate's courts and criticised some of his colleagues for being unscrupulous charging that their sole purpose is money and fame.

Sahadat said that the police, another arm of the administration of justice, need to act more professionally in investigating complaints before instituting charges while emphasis must be placed on having trained police prosecutors.

He alluded to the great disadvantage of legal practitioners in the region by not having a proper library, suggesting as well that with the advent of the Appeal Court in Berbice, there should be "a fully equipped and comprehensive library."

He urged too that the law revision which has not been published since 1973 be given some priority, as should the Guyana Law reports.

"...we are happy to hear that two senior judges of England will be in Guyana to assist in the formulation of new rules of the court", the BBA president said, noting that the present ones are "cumbersome and anachronistic and intricate."