The United States (US) Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), on Friday launched a US$946,000 “Strengthening the Criminal Justice in Guyana” project at the US Embassy in Georgetown, to improve justice delivery in Guyana.
The three-year programme, which will be led by the Canadian-based Justice Education Society (JES), aims at improving the quality of policing, prosecution and delivery of justice by the local judicial system.
The launching programme saw the attendance of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Ali-Hack, Chancellor of the Judiciary Justice Carl Singh, and members of the diplomatic corps.
US Ambassador Perry Holloway said efforts are being made through the programme to increase effective criminal investigation in Guyana which will lead to strong prosecutions and trials. He said the Embassy has been working along with the Legal Affairs Ministry and the DPP to strengthen Guyana’s justice system.
“During these engagements, we recognised that each component agency has an independent and constitutional role and function. We also understand that outcomes are enhanced when each agency understands the work of the other and has confidence that best practices are being utilised when carrying out those responsibilities”.
According to the Ambassador, the US is simply building on a project that was started by Canada and hopes that Guyana’s Government would take the project under its wings.
Meanwhile, Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan, lauded the efforts of the United States Government. He said the programme, which will also see the training of Magistrates, will undoubtedly see a further strengthening of the justice system in Guyana.
“We know that there are a number defects and deficits, but we are so happy that the American Embassy… other countries in the ABC countries… that we have this greater construction for the rule of law. Moreover, this aspect of the training will have efforts implemented to standardise law enforcement public agencies and enhance skills and knowledge of Prosecutors, adding capacity for taking better statements and being trained, so that they can give stronger evidence in court so that the Magistrates, Judges and conviction, can ensure conviction and there is also training for Magistrates”.
He said he was especially happy about the programme which will essentially strengthen procedures for Police, since there have been numerous allegations of Police taking some “rather un-coup steps in getting evidence.”