…equipment yet to be delivered by Italian firm
Despite repeated assurances from the government, Guyana is still unable to conduct its own Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) testing forcing investigators to send samples overseas for testing.
After four years, there is still no DNA testing at the local forensic lab, and the Public Security Minister says that the blame should be laid at the hands of the Italian firm that was awarded the contract.
Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, on Saturday told reporters 2019 would be the year when Guyanese could finally benefit from having its own DNA testing services instead of relying on other facilities overseas.
“We are having some problems in relation to the equipment. The contract was awarded to an Italian firm. The firm is supposed to be making the arrangements to get it to us. We thought that it should have been here by now. It is not here by now,” he said.
He says that in the interim, there has been training for personnel who will be operating in that facility and that the lab should be functioning sometime this year. However, he is unable to give a fixed date as to when Guyana will finally have its own DNA testing facility.
“Mr Clement Henry is supposed to give me a report. Look, I have had tremendous challenges with that. And so, that is my explanation at this moment but it is going to come this year…It is the equipment we are awaiting,” Ramjattan explained.
DNA is a material that is found in all living organisms, and it has been used to solve murders across many of the world’s countries. In July 2014, over four years ago, Guyana’s first forensic laboratory was officially opened, but the lack of DNA testing at that facility continues to provide a challenge to the solving of many high profile murder cases.