Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis maintained Sunday that he is acting within the constitution by not appointing a substantive Chief Justice, despite grave concerns expressed by the Bahamas Bar Association (BBA).
Fielding questions from the media yesterday, the prime minister said, he is being advised on the matter by the Attorney General’s (AG) Office and Cabinet, reiterating that there are other matters more pressing for him to deal with.
“You rather have your light on or a Chief Justice?” Dr. Minnis asked, when questioned by Eyewitness News.
“I am following constitution which allows a certain time frame to make that appointment,” he said.
Dr. Minnis was also asked if he plans to appoint AG Carl Bethel to the post, to which he responded, was a “Cabinet matter.”
Meanwhile, executives of the BBA have written to the AG noting that there have not been any invitations for applications or advertisements that would suggest the requisite transparent and open selection process.
It was also indicated that Senior Justice Stephen Isaacs has both served as acting chief justice on several occasions and is himself more than qualified for appointment.
“The status quo is wholly unacceptable,” BBA President Kahlil Parker said.
“Continued deferment in this matter has a compounding deleterious effect on the perception of the independence of our judiciary and thereby the rule of law.”
Dr. Minnis skirted around questions on the appointing insisting that he is acting within the perimeters of the law.