In an effort to fill critical vacancies, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has appointed nine acting Magistrates to help ease the burden and clear the backlog of cases within the magistracy.
Among these new appointees are State Counsels in the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Chamber — Tuanna Hardy, Teriq Mohammed, and Abigail Gibbs.
The other six appointees are Attorneys-at-Law Tamieka Clarke, Orinthia Schmidt, Shivani Lalaram, Michelle Matthias, Omadatt Chandan, and Ravindra Mohabir.
This publication understands that the new Magistrates will be sworn in sometime this week.
Only recently, Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall, SC, had disclosed that efforts were underway to have several Magistrates and Judges appointed to fill vacancies within the magistracy and Judiciary.
During his presentation in the 2024 Budget debate just over a week ago, Nandlall disclosed that at least 10 Magistrates would be appointed this year, bringing the total number of Magistrates to 29. Additionally, he had also announced that new posts have been created within the magistracy to accommodate for the large intake of cases. One of these new posts that were created is that of Deputy Chief Magistrate.
The Legal Affairs Minister had also mentioned the appointments of six Justices of Appeal and nine Puisne Judges in the High Court, along with two Commissioners of Title.
According to AG Nandlall, the reconstitution of the Judicial Service Commission in July 2023 paved the way for these critical judicial appointments to be made.
The new JSC was appointed by President Dr Irfaan Ali on July 14, 2023. The Commission members are Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag), Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards; Chief Justice (ag), Roxane George; Chairman of the Public Service Commission (PSC), Manniram Prashad; Retired Justice Carl Singh and Retired Justice Beasraj Singh (BS) Roy. The Chancellor sits as Chairman of the Commission.
The JSC is a constitutional body responsible for handling matters related to the appointment, discipline, removal, and promotion of judicial officers, including Judges and Magistrates.
Following its appointment, the Commission late last year published vacancies to fill the personnel gaps within the Judiciary and magistracy.
Only last month, Justice Cummings-Edwards disclosed that the JSC had begun the interviews for these vacant positions.