Friday, May 1, 2009

High Court Registrar complains to HPS about Chancellor

High Court Registrar complains to HPS about Chancellor

Posted By Stabroek staff On May 1, 2009 @ 5:15 am In Local News | 24 Comments
-cites $20.9M payments for disposal of backlog cases

Embattled Supreme Court Registrar, Sita Ramlal yesterday accused the acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Carl Singh of poor execution of a 2005-2007programme to reduce the backlog of cases and of “enjoying the rich rewards” of $20.9M of government’s money set aside for the scheme, but the Chancellor has rejected the allegation saying that it is a malicious attempt to mislead.
Chancellor Carl Singh [1]

Chancellor Carl Singh

In a formal complaint to Head of the Presidential Secretariat (HPS), Dr. Roger Luncheon dated April 29, 2009 Ms Ramlal alleged impropriety saying that the Chancellor executed the project lopsidedly by assigning himself most of the cases, and that he aggrandized $20.9M of the $41.2M expended by the administration for dealing with 1,394 cases of the 2778 cases that were concluded.

Ms Ramlal called for a formal investigation into the matter saying that it demeans and diminishes the Office of the Chancellor, the highest office in the judiciary.

The move by the Registrar further deepened the acrimony which enveloped the High Court in recent weeks after forgery allegations against Ms Ramlal. Legal observers say since the complaint was lodged with the HPS it could trigger uncomfortable exchanges between the executive and the judiciary.
Registrar Sita Ramlal [2]

Registrar Sita Ramlal

The government backlog reduction exercise fixed $15,000 for every case completed, and the Chancellor was tasked with assigning cases. The project commenced in 2005 and ended in 2007.

Ms Ramlal, who was charged on Monday in an alleged adoption fraud case along with former GDF Chief of Staff Norman McLean and is also currently in court challenging the powers of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) of which the Chancellor is Chairman, referred to the Chancellor’s distribution of cases as inequitable and unconscionable, “given that he had more than fifty percent of the total sum expended in the exercise”.

But the acting Chancellor, who had not been informed of the complaint when Stabroek News contacted him yesterday for a comment, welcomed the call for an investigation and dismissed Ms Ramlal’s allegations for failing to give an accurate account of how the exercise was executed, while noting that approval for payment of completed cases was entirely within the control of the Registrar.

“…My efforts and my expertise which I gave to the exercise were more important than the money, which the Registrar has so improperly disclosed… and I have no apologies to make for the work that I have completed”, the acting Chancellor stated.

The Chancellor said that he worked assiduously to reduce the backlog as, “the accountability was at my desk”, noting that the backlog was the cause of grave concern to the administration, the judiciary, and the populace, “The backlog is still a burning issue”, he added.

The Chancellor questioned the timing of the Registrar’s complaint noting that the project ended some three years ago. He stated that there had been no prior complaints about assignment of cases.

“…Two years later to raise this issue has nothing more than an ulterior motive”, he added.

Justice Singh confirmed receiving the sum stated by the Registrar, but explained that he met with judges in the High Court prior to the project commencing to provide every necessary detail, adding that there were some reservations by a few judges upon hearing of the requirement to work outside of working hours.

In the complaint to Luncheon, the Registrar said that the project envisaged an equitable distribution to all judges where the work should have been executed outside normal work hours for judges; after 3 pm and on Saturdays if necessary. She said that the cases to be assigned were matters that were ripe for hearing and did not include abandoned or deserted matters.

Ms Ramlal charged that the exercise made no impact on the backlog that exists in the High Court, adding that the entire project was badly executed by the acting Chancellor, “who assigned himself most of the abandoned cases sitting in the Registry and not hearing matters, thus enjoying the rich rewards…”

She also accused him of disposing of cases which were abandoned rather than hearing matters to attract payment of the $15,000 per case, saying that these included matters that were settled and withdrawn.

However, the Chancellor noted that there was an agreement among the judges of the High Court that they would weed out the dead and abandoned cases first, before moving onto those matters ripe for hearing. Justice Singh said also that no qualifications were imposed in the exercise.

The Chancellor challenged the Registrar to produce the conditions as defined in the exercise, “conditions that she now clamours for”. He said also, that his information on the impact of the project differs from the Registrar, adding that the project significantly reduced the volume of cases in the High Court.

Further, Ramlal stated that Justice Singh is the first Chancellor in history who has assumed the jurisdiction as a High Court judge, a jurisdiction he does not have, according to her.

“What is disturbing and improper is the fact that after Justice (Ian) Chang.SC was sworn to perform the functions of the Chief Justice on December 10, 2007, the then acting Chancellor Carl Singh came down to the High Court, took over the Chief Justice’s court and worked to discharge hundreds of cases…this means that in effect there were two Chief Justices functioning at the same time”, Ms Ramlal contended.

She said that the Chancellor acted in such a manner because he had intended to clear an advance payment of $4.2M given to him on June 26, 2007 and on August 10, 2007 respectively, for cases that were not yet heard and completed.

Additionally, she charged that he flouted the law by not obeying the declaratory order of Justice William Ramlal that he could not perform the functions of Chief Justice and Chancellor at the same time by functioning as a High Court judge to dispose of cases.
24 Comments (Open | Close)

24 Comments To "High Court Registrar complains to HPS about Chancellor"

#1 Comment By Samuel Legay On May 1, 2009 @ 6:25 am

Is this a case of mouth open story jump out…this sort of behaviour does not do well for the judiciary.

#2 Comment By Bush T On May 1, 2009 @ 6:26 am

REGISTRAR V CHANCELLOR-This is going to be a block-buster.

#3 Comment By Andy On May 1, 2009 @ 7:21 am

I knew there was a public rift between the Supreme Court Registrar and Chancellor of the Judiciary, but not this deep, and this is why I asked in a published letter whether the bill to fire judges who fail to make timely decisions had anything to do with this matter.

I mean, the President could have simply called in the Chancellor and tell him to tell judges and magistrates to step up their pace or face the axe, then the Chancellor could have called a weekend Judicial Retreat for judges and magisrates and read them the riot act and formulated a plan with them to attack the backlog of cases. Instead, we now have an acting Chancellor and acting Chief Justice who could soon find they are no longer required to show up for their acting tenure.

And we also have a Registrar who is facing criminal charges for forgery and works in the Supreme Court but gets leave of absence approvals from Office of the President, which the Chancellor says is not right!

Only in Guyana, my friends, only in Guyana is OP the epicenter of much craziness!

#4 Comment By tiger On May 1, 2009 @ 7:28 am

c’om on ramlal, you your self has been charged with a criminal offence and now you’r saying that the chancellor is not doing his job as he should? why did’nt you say something about this all along? who would listen to you now that your credability is questionable.

#5 Comment By Mackiedog - Prof. One Luv On May 1, 2009 @ 7:31 am

What a disgrace to the legal system in Guyana. The nation is going down road.

#6 Comment By navyseal On May 1, 2009 @ 7:32 am

Hey folks when is the next episode. We got the feeling. Any bets here? It heading for a showdown.

#7 Comment By NeNe On May 1, 2009 @ 7:37 am

Sita gal, keep talking. These are some serious allegations and merit an immediate audit at the very least. What is Luncheon waiting for - oh I fogot he is just a puppet in the grand scheme of things in Guyana. The story will end with Ramlal being made the scapegoat.

#8 Comment By evileyes On May 1, 2009 @ 7:40 am

wow…so de govt did give money…we stay tuned to hear mo on wat govt did and didnt do…

#9 Comment By SWAT On May 1, 2009 @ 7:54 am

Does this lady has credibility…I don’t think so? For anyone to believe her..I don’t think so.

#10 Comment By zetou On May 1, 2009 @ 7:58 am

This is nothing short of amazing!
The whole system wants a major shakeup, it is disgraceful! Separation of powers is dead.
This is just burning up for a movie-any takers?

#11 Comment By JACKIE On May 1, 2009 @ 8:08 am

She knew all this 2 years ago and said nothing? Shame on her! Shame on every one of them!!

#12 Comment By Pilot 230 On May 1, 2009 @ 8:33 am

Sita is a very smart woman,she is not going to let them make her the scapegoat.Don’t forget she is from the inside and knows all the facts. I wish her well.

#13 Comment By catwomanmaneater On May 1, 2009 @ 8:33 am

fuh real!!!!!!wopnder how come sita so contentious..even before she got her high position people always complaing abpout her…it reamis to b seen what will happen..from what i hear she’s a powerhouse!!!!!!!

#14 Comment By Sarkar On May 1, 2009 @ 8:34 am

Ahhh! Finally coming together eh? Now let’s wait and see who has more spungs and ropes. Watch her go wild with delegated authority!! Think the Actors will lift their heads above water? Typical case of ‘you cross me and see what I do to you’?

#15 Comment By Desiree Liverpool On May 1, 2009 @ 8:36 am

Sita do not want to go down alone lol.

#16 Comment By Bush T On May 1, 2009 @ 8:48 am

SING SITA,SING!This is the way to go.The more you sing the better for you.The Plea bargain law is in operation. Mr Luncheon has more on his plate,than he can handle.Sita’s complaint should be properly investigated,even though it took a long time.Best news for a long time.

#17 Comment By Witch DR. On May 1, 2009 @ 8:59 am

so what,the Grapes sour now Sita?

#18 Comment By Macushi On May 1, 2009 @ 9:27 am

how can they try those backlogged cases. Those cases that are over 5 years should be dismissed.

#19 Comment By Brandon Samaroo On May 1, 2009 @ 9:44 am

hmmmm why is sita waiting till now to come out with this?

Interesting and I am glad that she finally is speaking up against this but….nonetheless it seems a bit self interest driven.

#20 Comment By decanadianCarlVeecock On May 1, 2009 @ 9:45 am

“She also accused him of disposing of cases which were
abandoned rather than hearing matters to attract payment of
the $15,000 per case, saying that these included matters that
were settled and withdrawn”

I think that this is the most damning accusation, one whcih
could easily be verified. Really doing nothing for the big pay
of $15k:
1. the cases were abandoned
2. the cases were settled
3. the cases were withdrawn.

All he had to do was to write “Matter closed”, then collect
the $15k.

But….this is Guyana and twists and turns happen all the time.
That time will be argued as being of the essence is clear.
Why bring this up now after two years?

Back to chess basics…strategy and tactics at play.
Singh got more clout and contacts, though not the best player.
Ramlall gat to resign. She cannot win. She wait too long to
make her move. Game over!

#21 Comment By malaika06 On May 1, 2009 @ 9:46 am

This is a big disgrace! More smears on an already tarnished judiciary. Someone tell me if I am correct, sorry for the ignorance;

The Guyana government set aside $41.2M TAXPAYERS money to expedite backlog cases for the 2005 - 2007 years. This money I figure was for overtime work to be divvied up among the sitting judges and the Chancellor/Chief Justice took HALF of the cases earning $20M for himself and still there’s a BACKLOG???????

SICK! SICK! SICK I’m running out of puke bags.

Yes mouth open story jump out.

#22 Comment By Evan Thomas On May 1, 2009 @ 9:48 am

Never in the history of the Guyana judiciary has it gone to such low. Mouth open story jump out, let’s see what else will come out. never mess with a spurned woman. and let’s see how the government will deal with this public case ….nearly $21 million alone for himself…good griefs!!!!

#23 Comment By Cheryl On May 1, 2009 @ 9:53 am

Sita’s case is still in the making,can a chancellor preform in two unrelated positions.?

Carl better be careful,it seems Sita has strong allegations against Carl, maybe Carl had either something to say concerning her case, (which is up coming,) or intends to.

No wonder many cases are backed up, prisoners, (whether guilty or not,) are in remand for years, while tax payers continues to have their pockets fleeched to upkeep prisoners.

This matter should never have gone public.

#24 Comment By john brown On May 1, 2009 @ 9:58 am

ms Ramlall is just one sour person. she thought she was untouchable until reality stepped in. why would anybody believe her now, why did didn’t she complain all the time.

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