[www.inewsguyana.com] – President Donald Ramotar has underscored that the courts should be a defender of the poor, as he delivered remarks at the commissioning of a Magistrate’s Court at No 51 Village in Region Six.
The President, accompanied by the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag) Mr. Carl Singh, Justice B.S. Roy and other members of the judicary, unveiled the plaque to the $46 million building.
The President recounted hearing of untold suffering from people across the country who feel deprived of justice because they lack resources and contacts. Persons, he said, also complain frequently of others being released on bail even though they are charged with committing serious offences or are repeat offenders.
“In those instances, the complainants claim that they are denied justice. It is difficult to disagree with them…While I recognise that I cannot interfere with how bail is granted, I feel compelled to draw these matters to the attention of the judiciary. These are some of the issues that lead to a loss of confidence in the judicial system. When the public loses confidence in the justice system, we will have major problems in our country,” the President said.
Further addressing the issue of efficiency within the judiciary, the President also noted that “billions of dollars of state revenue as taxes are also the subject of pending litigation. The impact of all this is that economic progress and financial activities are severely affected. The judiciary must continue to strive therefore to ensure that there is greater efficiency in the way that the system functions…we invest billions of dollars annually into the judicial sector because we recognise a connection between access to justice and the economic development of our country and the social progress of our people.”
The President also urged members of the judicary to work effectively and expeditiously to reduce the backlog of cases. He acknowledged that even though significant strides have been made, “the truth is that where ever I go, I receive complaints of cases pending in the system for years. This is unacceptable…we will continue to encourage the judicary to embark upon new initiatives that will foster greater speed in the system in order to minimise the delay we often hear about and the reduction of the backlog of cases.”
Meanwhile, both Justice B.S. Roy and Chancellor Singh pointed out that the new building is a much needed replacement that will not only improve the working conditions of members of the judicary, but the environment of those seeking justice.
The Chancellor also spoke of the judiciary’s independence and noted that magistrates are often encouraged to be effective, fair and efficient. The No. 51 Village Magistrate’s Court was constructed next to the old court building by Ramesh Kissoon Contracting Company between February and August 2014. [Extracted and modified from GINA]