Several female ministers of government have welcomed the appointment of women to the two highest positions in the judiciary. Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards was appointed Chancellor of the Judiciary acting and Justice Roxane George, Chief Justice acting.
Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards as Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag)
The appointment of Justices Cummings-Edwards and George to the highest judicial offices in Guyana marks the first time that women have been appointed to head the Judiciary. Justice Roxanne George is also the daughter of former Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Kenneth George, who retired in 1995.
Speaking to the Government Information Agency (GINA), Minister of Public Telecommunications, Cathy Hughes, said that it is a great day for Guyana to witness such an appointment; it means that women are breaking the barriers, she said
“It’s a great day when we have women holding such prestigious positions. March 08 is International Women’s Day and this is just to show women that we are breaking the barriers,” Hughes said.
Justice Roxanne George-Wiltshire as Chief Justice (ag)
Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence, said “It is well-deserved! They have worked hard to achieve these positions.” The minister said she was elated that President David Granger values women and recognises their contributions to the development of the country. “Young women and girls can now look to them as role models,” Lawrence said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally, said she is pleased to know that women are finally being recognised for their contributions. “It is a result of hard work, experience, professionalism and dedication that landed them the well-deserved positions,” Ally said, adding that she is confident that they will contribute towards the further advancement of Guyana’s judicial system.
“All of Guyana ought to be proud of the milestone realised by our Judiciary on account of the simultaneous recent elevation of two of our outstanding female legal luminaries. I truly believe that the honour bestowed on these two distinguished women, simultaneously, will resonate beyond the confines of the judicial system and find its way into the consciousness of our womenfolk as a whole. If it is true that women have long broken through the proverbial glass ceiling as far as elevation of high office is concerned, the simultaneous occupation of these two exalted positions in the Judicial system, by two women, is an accomplishment which, in all likelihood, is not emulated anywhere else in the world,” Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources, Simona Broomes said.
Minister Broomes said that she believes that the elevation of two female judges to these positions is a reflection of the determination of the administration to enrich the lives and enhance the profiles of Guyanese women, and the beginning of the opening up of new avenues of opportunity under this administration.
While extending best wishes to the women judges, Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings, said that one of the primary goals of the administration is to promote gender equality and women empowerment and propel women to occupy significant and decisive roles in the social, cultural and economic sectors of Guyana.
“They are highly trained and professional and competent individuals. The education of… women and girls, is one of the best investments that a developing country like ours can make in its future. The education of female is a key driver to economic growth and overall development. Education and training opportunities when completed must be coupled with equal employment opportunities. Therefore the APNU/AFC government is pleased to fulfil its mandate of equal employment opportunities of our highly skilled and qualified women within our society by the appointment of Justice Yonette Cummings as acting Chancellor of the Judiciary and the Justice Roxane George as acting Chief Justice,” Dr. Cummings said.
Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson, adding her voice to the accolades said, “As a woman I am happy to see that women are stepping up to the plate and for too long the judiciary was being governed by male dominates so, with two female actually being promoted to the acting post at the same time really says a lot.”
Ferguson is optimistic that the women will make Guyana proud, as they set out their goals and objectives of enhancing the country’s judicial system.
Minister within the Ministry of Communities, Dawn Hastings- Williams said that she is happy that women are being given the opportunity to serve in senior positions, and that it does not only fall in line with the 2030 sustainable goals but it also gives younger women the motivation to do great.
Prior to her appointment, Justice Cummings-Edwards acted as the Chief Justice. Former Chancellor of the Judiciary, Carl Singh, officially demitted office on February 23, 2017, paving the way for the new appointments.