This was announced at the commissioning of the Linden Magistrate’s Court, which was constructed under the recently concluded Modernisation of the Justice Administration System (MJAS) at the cost of approximately $60M.
This project was approved in 2006 and implementation began in 2007 through a US$25M loan from the Inter American Development Bank (IDB).
Linden will be merged with Kwakwani and Ituni to form a new magisterial district, which will be called the Upper Demerara River Magisterial District.
The new magisterial district will have its own office where issues such as the obtaining and payment of child support and the filing of court proceedings can be addressed. At present, Lindeners have to travel all the way to Vreed-en-Hoop to access these services.
Delivering remarks on behalf of the Government, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall said that this new edifice is another demonstration of the Government’s commitment to resourcing the judiciary and the justice sector as a whole, in order to ensure that citizens, regardless of their geographic locations, have equal access to facilities that dispense justice.
He spoke of the importance of the maintenance of law and order in the country and the need for a mechanism that offers protection to the rights and freedoms of the citizenry. He noted that a country’s social and economic development is intricately linked to the existence of a functioning legal system that protects the liberties of individuals.
“No nation can advance economically, no people can advance intellectually, no society can advance socially if there is no system of laws to protect private property, liberty, life and freedom of thought and other inalienable human rights, and if there is not a system to which one can go to complain when there is an alleged violation of these rights…in the absence of law and order is the presence of anarchy, and in anarchy there is destruction, the complete opposite of progress,” the AG explained.
Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag), Justice Carl Singh said that subsequent to the destruction of the Christianburg Magistrate’s Court in 2011, the Government readily acceded to his request for funds to construct a new building. The land on which this new court is now built was made available by the former regional administration headed by Mortimer Mingo.
In the initial stages of construction there were some hiccups largely due to the intransigence of the contracting firm to which the project was awarded. However, the contractor was dismissed and another was recruited to complete the outstanding works.
The Chancellor reminded that, “we live in a society that is ruled by law and so if you violate the law, if you do not show respect of the law then you will be deemed to be running afoul of the law and there are consequences and it does not matter who you are. The law is a leveller of standing and status.”
He added that it is his intention to ensure that the courts in Guyana provide an effective and efficient system of justice. He said the courts should be seen as a place where the fundamental rights of people are upheld and not just a place for the imposition of punishment for wrongdoing.
In the past, the magistrate who presided in the Region 10 district had to travel from Georgetown. This situation will no longer obtain with this new facility and others like it that are constructed outside of the City.
These new courts are equipped with residential facilities so that magistrates can be stationed at various districts and in so doing, deliver at a greater rate of speed, thereby improving the efficiency of the justice administration system.
[Extracted and modified from GINA]