The estimated sums allocated for the capital and current expenditure for both the Legal Affairs Ministry and the Chambers of the Attorney General (AG) Basil Williams, came under intense scrutiny by parliamentarians on the Opposite side of the House.
INews understands that with reference to inquiries into the variance for funds allocated under “Other” for the Legal Affairs Ministry’s Main Office, the Chancellor of the Judiciary will be hosting the Commonwealth Judges’ Conference in Guyana this year and AG Williams will also host a reception in honour of the attendees.
“Further, in reply to the request for an explanation for the $592,130,000 variance under line item ‘Other’ for the AG’s Chambers, the AG explained that the increase caters for the balance of payment to RUDISA Beverages, the Surinamese company, to which the Government of Guyana is indebted following a judgment. The AG informed that this fund caters for the Hague Conference which Guyana will be hosting in July 2016; a sensitisation workshop on the Hague Convention (which will be held prior to the conference), consultation on legislative Bills and the purchase of passwords to access the Lexis Nexis and CARILAW online law libraries,” the release stated.
Meanwhile, on the issue of capital expenditure for the Justice Sector Programme, Williams said that the activities under this programme require the hiring and training of personnel, procurement of furnishing and equipment for the Law Reform Commission and the drafting of legislation to facilitate the revision of the laws of Guyana and the establishment of the Law Reform Commission.
However, at this point in time a building has not been identified to house the Law Reform Commission.
It was explained that a building may be rented for that purpose or provision may be made in the proposed extension of the AG’s Chambers and Legal Affairs Ministry.
Additionally there will be training on decision writing and sentencing, etc. for Judges, Magistrates and Prosecutors.
According to the press statement, there will also be “Training on evidence gathering, investigations and legislation to cover all areas; recovery of assets and the training of Prosecutors, Judges and Investigators on Cybercrime legislation. Correction of the deficiency in the system to ensure timely decisions to reduce the backlog in the Judicial System. The possibility of the employment of part time Judges (Retired Judges and Senior Practitioners) will be explored. Acquisition of 10 recording systems for Georgetown High Court 4, Magistrates Court 4, High Court Berbice 1 and 1 High Court Essequibo and training of personnel to operate equipment.”
INews also understands that the abovementioned will be funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and that these funds should be made available either late 2016 or early 2017.