The Cabinet Office announced yesterday that Acting Chief Justice Stephen Isaacs has been appointed to the substantive post of chief justice.
In a statement, the Cabinet Office said Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, after consultation with opposition leader Philip Brave Davis, advised Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling to appoint Isaacs to the top post with effect July 9. The decision comes seven months after former Chief Justice Sir Hartman Longley was appointed president of the Court of Appeal last December.
Members of the judiciary, including the Bahamas Bar Association (BBA), have criticized Minnis’ failure to appoint a substantive chief justice, calling it an egregious affront on the independence of the third branch of government.
BBA President Kahlil Parker wrote to Attorney General Carl Bethel last February, expressing alarm that no one had yet been named to the substantive post.
He raised the matter once again in March.
The association suggested the delay in the appointment puts The Bahamas in an “existential and constitutional crisis”.
At the time, Attorney General Carl Bethel said no one “in their right mind” could seriously assert the government was interfering with the administration of justice.
He said the acting chief justice was impartial and independent as mandated by the constitution.