Impartiality, objectivity fundamental to administration of justice – Prime Minister Phillips

– Nine Magistrates sworn-in

Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d), the Honourable Mark Phillips, said that magistrates are integral to the functioning of the legal system and emphasised the important and multifaceted role they play in the administration of justice.

The Honourable Prime Minister made the statement this morning as he administered the oath of office to nine newly appointed Magistrates at the Office of the Prime Minister on Camp Street.

During his remarks, Prime Minister Phillips said that, “Magistrates are integral to the functioning of the legal system, and their duties are diverse, ranging from presiding over court proceedings to making critical decisions that impact the lives of individuals and communities.”

He also took the opportunity to underline the importance of upholding the principles of impartiality and objectivity, adding that these principles are fundamental to the effective and ethical administration of justice.

“I wish to first of all advise that you must accord the highest portfolio, which requires objectivity and neutrality. This is a portfolio that prohibits you from being influenced by any other consideration other than the evidence and the law before you…Lady Justice is blindfolded, and that signifies that adjudicator must not see the identity of the person before them.”

Acknowledging that there are existing delays in the legal system, the Prime Minister outlined the Government’s plan to implement upgrades and introduce an e-filing system in the magistracy, allowing for electronic filing of criminal charges and procedures.

“While I recognise that the system is burdened with a heavy caseload, I also recognise the truism in the old adage that all of us are accustomed to hearing that, justice delayed is justice denied. I sincerely hope that this addition of nine newly minted magistrates will complement our magistracy to bring greater speed to the conclusion of the cases before our legal system.”

Prime Minister Phillips also underscored the Government’s commitment to working alongside the judiciary to boost efficiency by providing necessary resources. He cited ongoing projects, including the construction and renovation of eight magistrate courts, particularly in areas that previously did not have. These new courts are designed to hold multiple trials simultaneously, with accommodations for magistrates to stay for extended periods, especially in remote regions.

Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General, the Honourable Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC; Chancellor (ag) of the Judiciary, Madam Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards; Chief Justice (ag), Madam Justice Roxane George CCH, SC; former Chancellor, Justice Carl Singh (Ret’d); Retired Appeal Court Judge BS Roy; Chief Magistrate (ag), Mrs. Sherdel Isaacs- Marcus; Chairman of the Public Service Commission (PSC), Manniram Prashad; Registrar of the Supreme Court, Mrs Sueanna Lovell; and, Attorney-at-law & President of the Guyana Bar Association; Mr Ronald Burch-Smith, were also present at the ceremony.

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