…Chancellor calls for bold, fearless JudgesPrime Minister (PM) Moses Nagamootoo on Monday reaffirmed Government’s commitment to the smooth functioning of the judiciary, noting that its independence is the bedrock of the nation’s stability.Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Carl SinghNagamootoo, who is acting in the capacity of Head of State, made the comments as he delivered the feature address at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association (CMJA) Conference at the Marriott International Hotel.According to the PM, Government has been making a conscious and determined effort at giving recognition and meaning to the Declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, which reaffirmed that human rights, the rule of law and democracy are interlinked and mutually reinforcing, and they belong to the universal and indivisible core values and principles of the United Nations.“Government is conscious of the distinction that must be made between ‘rule by law’ whereby Government erroneously places itself above the law, and the ‘rule of law’, which implies that everyone in society, including the Government, is bound by the law,” he said. “It is on the latter that Government has rested its structure, recognising that constitutional limits on the exercise of governmental authority, which is a key feature of any democracy, require adherence to the rule of law.”According to the PM, in recent times, constitutional reformers and law-makers in Guyana have adopted liberal concepts in their approach to governance.“Our recognition is that an independent judiciary is the strongest guarantee for the protection of the rights of our citizens. We believe that an independent judiciary is the bedrock of the stability of our nation. We believe that only an independent judiciary could be the guarantors of the rule of law,” he told the room of legal minds.He said not only did the judiciary enjoy independence when it decided issues between citizen and citizen or between citizen and the State, it also had control over its administrative machinery, its registries and their personnel.Meanwhile, also delivering remarks at the ceremony, Chancellor of the Judiciary, Carl Singh, placed a mandate on Judges to be bold, outspoken and fearless.“Judges who are weak are less likely to be effective guarantors of the rule of law,” Justice Singh told the gathering. He said most Commonwealth States with written constitutions have an established constitution matrix, which establishes the three pillars of the state structures; the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches of Government. As it relates to the judiciary, Justice Singh said the Constitution provided that all courts and persons presiding over the courts exercise their functions independently of the control and direction of any other person or authority and shall be free and independent from political, executive or any other form of direction and control.“The independence of the judiciary is buttressed by the provision of the Constitution, but equally important is the readiness of Judges to assert and protect that independence. Judicial independence may also be discerned from the structure, circumstances and conditions under which we function.”He said, “In Guyana, we can proudly lay claim of having complete independence in the adjudicatory process of the courts and institutional and financial independence.”The CMJA is a unique international association, which brings together judicial officers from over 68 jurisdictions in the Commonwealth and beyond.It provides a unique network for judicial officers in Commonwealth countries in order to assist them to advance the administration of justice. Its aims are to promote the independence of the judiciary and to advance education in the law, the administration of justice, the treatment of offenders, and the prevention of crime.