Chief Magistrate peeved at apparent slight
Öfails to be promoted
Kaieteur News
July 16, 2004

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The recent appointments of relatively junior magistrates to the position of High Court judges have aggrieved a senior functionary of the Magistracy.

Kaieteur News understands that Chief Magistrate Juliet Holder-Allen is very upset about what she considers the selective attitude of the Judicial Service Commission.

Mrs. Holder-Allen has been in practice for over 18 years, serving as a magistrate for the last 15 years until her appointment as Chief Magistrate two years ago.

A source close to the Chief Magistrate said that not once was she given any promotional prospects to become a judge despite her seniority and experience.

Some of her colleagues say that some personal reason or political motive may be behind the failed promotion of the Chief Magistrate to the High Court.

The Administration of Justice has apparently taken a position that the Chief Magistrate does not meet the criteria for selection, the colleague said.

About four years ago, the Chief Magistrate sought recourse through the United Nations, to the then Resident Representative, Richard Olver, for what she considered an attempt by the administration not to afford her any promotion.

Recently, there has been a report that plans are afoot to have a senior Magistrate assume the office of Chief Magistrate.

Kaieteur News understands that this magistrate has been out of the judicial system for the past two years.

Mrs Holder-Allen, some time ago, had said that she does not intend to hold the fort for anyone.

The Guyana Bar Association recently lauded the judicial appointments, much to the dissatisfaction of the Chief Magistrate.

In a press release, the Bar Association noted that the recent appointments would assist considerably in disposing the backlog of cases awaiting trial both in the High Court and Magistratesí Courts.

President of the Association, Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan, said that out of courtesy, the Bar congratulated and supported those appointed.

He added that the Association would be hard put to make any announcement on behalf of those who are aggrieved over not being appointed.

As it relates to the Chief Magistrate, Mr. Ramjattan said that he cannot give a comment. He added that the reasons for preventing Mrs. Holder-Allen from being appointed to the High Court must be obtained from the Judicial Service Commission.

He said that it must be made clear that the Barís congratulation to those appointed was in no way intended to disrespect others.

The lawyer said that for transparency on this matter, the Chancellor of the Judiciary, who heads the Judicial Service Commission, would be the fittest person to offer reasons why the Chief Magistrate is not being considered for the position of Judge at the High Court.

According to Ramjattan, the Barís representative on the commission, Mr. Bryn Pollard, had indicated that the Judicial Service Commission takes a host of things into consideration before a selection is determined.

The criteria are expertise, experience, seniority, the ability to write judgments and to grapple with the concepts and principles of law, and how to apply them to actual situations before the court.