General and Minister of Legal Affairs Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC on today opened a $177 million Magistrate’s Court, in Bartica, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni).
The modern facility is equipped with devices that will allow cases to be heard without prisoners having to travel to the court.
The Attorney General described the opening as a tremendous achievement and a demonstration of the transformation taking place in the country.
He said the judiciary is essential for any country to move forward.
“In every society in which there is economic development, social progress and prosperity, you have a judicial system that is functioning, that is efficient, that is considered to be impartial and that enjoys the public confidence of that society. We cannot get progress without that,” the Attorney General said.
The Attorney General said Government is committed to working with the judiciary to ensure citizens are provided with a quality justice system. Minister Nandlall reminded those in attendance that the court is where all disputes must be resolved.
“No society has ever progressed where the people feel that they do not have access to justice. The right to Medi-care, the right to free speech, the right to movement, the right to property. All of them are subject to the right to justice because if you do not have access to justice, then you cannot vindicate, you cannot protect, you cannot defend those rights,” the AG said.
Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag) Justice Yonette Cummings- Edwards said the region will have its first resident magistrate, which will allow court sessions five days per week. Previously, court was held in the region just three days a week since 2009.
“A court in a district really is the people’s court. This court is your court, members of this community. We ask that you care it, we ask that you come to court to have your disputes resolved, do not take justice in your own hands and this court will make justice the measuring line. It will ensure that justice is served and that at the end of the day, you as members in this community, would be satisfied not on that justice was served, but justice must appear also to have been served,” the Chancellor said.
The fully furnished facility has a court office, a lock-up, a domestic violence office, and living quarters. The Chancellor said the government has committed to establish similar courts in Timehri and Friendship on the East Bank Demerara.
Regional Chairman, Mr. Kenneth Williams and Mayor of Bartica, His Worship Gifford Marshall also made brief remarks. Chief Justice (ag) Roxanne George chaired the ceremony.