Almost two months after the untimely demise of former Chief Justice Stephen Isaacs, a noted attorney on Friday expressed hope that the government does not drag its feet to fill the vacant position.
“The law frowns on delay, delay defeats justice, so in my view it isn’t a matter of the electorate taking a reasonable time to make the appointment, but a delay,” said noted attorney Wayne Munroe, QC.
According to the outspoken attorney, everything in the law seems to work within a reasonable time, except for the appointment of a chief justice.
Referring to the long delay to appoint the late chief justice Stephen Isaacs, Munroe said he was a judge who was on a judicial path from the very bottom to the top. “He decided cases, he was sitting in the Court of Appeal, so it [his appointment] was not a matter that needed reasonable time, it was a matter that was delayed and delay is frowned upon,” Munroe said.
The late Stephen Isaacs served in an acting role as chief justice from December 2017 until he was finally confirmed on July 10, 2018. The government was severely criticized for its long delay and according to Munroe, it is time for “politics” to be removed from the selection of Chief Justices as well as the appointment of Queens Councils.
“There is nothing that qualifies a politician to know who should be a QC. Judges are more qualified than the political directorate,” he said. “And definitely the appointment of a Chief Justice, where Stephen Isaacs was fearless, you wouldn’t have thought that he was waiting to be confirmed for so long as he put fearless leadership towards the rights of citizens.”
Bahamas Bar Association President, Kahlil Parker said it was “not right” for the third branch of the government to be “headless.” The appointment of the chief justice, he said, is a duty.
“I expect that the government moves with all convenience and speed as they are mandated to do it,” Parker said.
Justice Vera Watkins is currently serving as acting Chief Justice.