Golding says Chuck's remarks inappropriate
Opposition spokesman on justice Senator Mark Golding has issued a caution to his counterpart Delroy Chuck, saying his broad-brushing of the judiciary, in relation to the timeline within which judgments are handed down, was inappropriate.
He said while no one is above criticism, including judges, Chuck's comments were unfair to the judiciary.
Chuck had said he was not seeking to interfere with the independence of the judiciary, but made it clear that he would not relent in urging judges to hand down judgments within six months.
Members of the judiciary met on Monday to discuss, among other things, remarks by the justice minister who criticised them about the slow pace at which sentences were delivered.
Addressing journalists yesterday at a press conference at the People's National Party headquarters, Old Hope Road in St Andrew, Senator Golding said it was dangerous for a minister to broad-brush the judiciary in terms of their performance.
He warned that the justice minister's comments could demoralise and undermine the collective effort that was needed to move the justice system forward.
Senator Golding said Minister Chuck should be careful not to trespass on the constitutional boundaries between the executive and the judiciary in terms of recommending sentencing, which is within the purview of the judges who have the facts of a particular case before them.
"It is not for a minister to be telling judges what sort of sentences to be handed down - the law as passed by Parliament sets the parameters for sentencing - the judges must exercise their judicial discretion, based on the facts before them, in applying the law as it stands.
"Rather than tearing down bridges, he should reinforce the relationship of trust and cooperation between the Government, judiciary and Parliament," Golding insisted.