The Ministry of Legal Affairs in collaboration with the University of Guyana (UG) launched a new ‘Certificate in Advocacy and Evidence for Summary Courts Prosecutors’ programme to ensure victims of criminal offences benefit from effective legal representation.
The initiative was devised by the Government of Guyana to strengthen and balance the scales of the country’s justice system.
At the official launch of the programme on Monday, Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, S.C, said prosecutors have an important role to play in carrying out justice, noting that the training will equip them with the tools to effectively carry out their functions.
“Justice is not a one-way street; justice has two sides. It has the public interest, it has the victim’s interest, it has the State’s interest all amalgamated and become the responsibility of the prosecutor to preserve, protect and advance,” he said at the launch held at the George Walcott Lecture Theatre (GWLT).
The programme will train 71 persons with a Bachelor’s Degree in Law (LLB) from UG. A total of 35 persons will be granted scholarships and after completing the course, will be employed by the State on bond as prosecutors in Guyana’s Magistrates Courts.
The AG told participants that the course provides a great opportunity to advance their skills in the field while enhancing Guyana’s justice system.
“This programme provides persons with a great opportunity to begin their career in the legal profession. It provides employment and it advances and augments the criminal justice system. To a potential recruitee you have an unprecedented opportunity to prepare your work as a prosecutor. You have the power and might of the state behind you, you have the resources of the police force at your disposal and you have an opportunity to showcase your learning, your talent to fine tune your skill to hone your skill in an adversarial context with the best legal minds at the criminal bar. You have a great opportunity and this can lay the function for your upward mobility.”
Participants will receive training in criminal procedure, criminal law and evidence finding.
Upon completion, participants will operate as part of the prosecutorial arm of the state under the constitutional supervision of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
The course is being funded by the Inter- American Development Bank (IDB) through the Support for Criminal Justice System (SCJS) programme to the tune of some US$8 million, with the aim of having trained prosecutors placed at every magistrate’s court.
Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag), Justice Yonnette Cummings- Edwards, Vice Chancellor, Professor Paloma Mohamed, IDB Chief of Operations, Lorena Solorzano, Head of the law department, Attorney Kim Kyte- Thomas, and other officials also attended the event.