By KYLE WALKINE
Tribune Staff Reporter
ATTORNEY General Allyson Maynard-Gibson yesterday neither confirmed nor denied that she is being considered to be the next chief justice of the Bahamas.
However, a source within the government told The Tribune that Mrs Maynard-Gibson has been tapped to replace current Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett.
When asked if she is being considered for the post of chief justice, Mrs Maynard-Gibson smiled and said: “The prime minster has given me the opportunity to be attorney general and I am very grateful that the people of the Bahamas support me in that role.”
She added: “I believe that my team and I, under the graciousness of the Christie administration, have made a tremendous difference in the administration of justice and that is my entire focus. I just pray that I will continue to enjoy the confidence of the prime minister and the people of the Bahamas as the attorney general.”
When asked to comment on the reports, State Minister for Legal Affairs Damian Gomez shied away saying: “You need to ask the prime minister that. I’ve heard rumours, but I’ve not heard that officially.”
When pressed Mr Gomez said: “Well, I have not heard it from the person who would make that decision. The constitution requires him to consult with the leader of the opposition and then make that decision. But until I hear it from him, it’ll all be speculation to me.”
The chief justice, the highest post in the judicial system, is appointed by the governor-general after recommendation by the prime minister. Opposition Leader Dr Hubert Minnis said so far he has not heard anything from the prime minster about a new chief justice.
Sir Michael Barnett was appointed chief justice in August 2009. Earlier this year he stressed the principle that an independent judiciary free from interference by the legislature and the executive is an essential characteristic of democracy and an underlying aspect of the constitution.
“Any legislative action that diminishes the independence of the judiciary or impedes the judiciary in its function of safeguarding the constitutional right of the individual will be struck down unless such legislation is enacted in accordance with the rules for constitutional amendments,” he said.
Sir Michael briefly served as attorney general in the last Ingraham administration.