By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Budget 2014 allocates $1.8 billion or 0.8% of the total $220B National Budget to the justice sector but according to Opposition Member of Parliament, James Bond this is miniscule as he criticized what he said were paltry sums set aside to be spent on infrastructure and equipment.
Bond during his contribution to the National 2014 budget debate on Monday, April 07 argued that the allocations in totality have the collective effect of strangulating the sector and pegging back little gains achieved by the Justice Improvement Programme.
He charged the administration that if it were progressive, as it claims to be, it would have had another phase in the Justice Improvement Program in place for 2014 to commence as soon as the 2013 phase would have concluded.
“It takes me to the logical conclusion therefore that the budgetary design for the judicial sector as adumbrated by the subject minister for 2014 is palpably flawed in principle and in effect,” Bond argued.
He contended that the administration has little interest in curing the ills plaguing the sector.
“Ills they have created and allowed to fester unchecked for two decades.”
Bond questioned whether by accepting a ‘hand out’ by the Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall, if he intends to donate to the Justice Sector his gains from the numerous libel lawsuits he has filed, if he wins to improve and enhance the Justice Sector.
He told the House that there is a deafening silence on enhancing the quality of judicial decisions, optimization of the use of human material and financial resources, protection of the young and vulnerable when they become enveloped by the Sector, focused financial investment and management of the Legal Aid Program, expansion of Legal Aid program to new areas, improving the quota of Attorneys and capacity building within the Legal Aid Program, drastically reducing the time it takes for victims to be compensated, curbing repetition of Criminality by offenders, introduction of IT and e-protocols throughout the sector and the introduction of the Judicial Research Assistants Program.
Bond said these are things that APNU would have spent an additional $1B to ensure that the system is truly accessible and truly strong.
“Might I remind the House that in 2013 I called the Minister of Finance’s bluff and here again in 2014 I have proven him a bad poker player. He bets big with a weak hand. He comes as a bearer of false promises and sautéed phrases and I will prove it to you.”