Guyanese are saying that Justices Franklyn Holder and Retired Claudette Singh are now showing their true colors as agents of the PNC acting in the interests of as well as doing the bidding of that political party in Guyana’s elections. Guyanese in the diaspora and at home are questioning their rulings. Litigants who appeared before these two judges now feel that past rulings made by them were compromised and justice was ill-served. Litigants feel the judges were biased; the litigants also feel cheated. They are now demanding that their cases be reviewed by neutral objective justices of the court.
It is noted that Justice Claudette vitiated the 1997 election results that the PPP won by a huge majority. Its term in office was reduced by two years. That alone is reason enough to suspect her relationship with PNC (APNU).
With regards to Justice Holder, he is presiding over a matter pertaining to the current election fiasco in which Gecom, under the chair of Claudette Singh, has rigged the count in favor of APNU and David Granger. It is curious to note that Holder is a commercial judge whereas the election matter is political in nature. The election matter is also constitutional in nature. Past precedents reveal that all constitutional matters are tried at the Supreme Court that is presided over by the Chief Justice. Why is the election matter being litigated in a lower court and not before the CJ? Furthermore, why did APNU seek an injunction before Justice Holder and another judge?
Justice Holder has another more serious conflict of interest and has refused to recuse (excuse/withdraw) himself from the matter. Reports on social media say Holder is the father-in-law of APNU candidate Mr. Astel Collins who works in the office of the President. And Justice Holder’s wife also works in the office of President David Granger. Isn’t Holder’s presiding over the matter a conflict of interest?
Can anyone put their faith in Judge Holder for a fair, objective ruling? The public is skeptical whether justice can be served. They are concerned with Holder’s close relationship with family members working for the government that is a party to the judicial matter. Is he setting himself for a situation in which his judgment will be questioned and the independence of the judiciary undermined? Won’t it be better to recuse himself from this matter?
It is also noted that after Justice Holder was threatened by the Attorney General Basil Williams in an APNU government case two years ago, he set a precedent of taking a noble step of recusing self from further participation in that matter. Why has he not recused himself now since this matter is also APNU related? People feel the honorable thing for Justice Holder to do is to recuse himself. His continued participation in this matter creates doubt whether justice will be done. Justice must not only be done but seen to be done. These doubts over fair play and conflict of interest can be avoided if Holder recuses himself.