First Juvenile Court declared open; more to be established in 2019

Minister of Public Security, Hon. Khemraj Ramjattan and Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag) Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards unveils the Children’s Court Plaque. (DPI photo)

As the first ever Juvenile Court opened its doors to the public this morning (Wednesday), plans were announced to erect similar structures outside of the capital city of Georgetown in the coming year.

According to representative from the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), Sylvie Fouet, the Court will be expanded.

Magistrates Dylon Bess and Annette Singh will preside over the daily sessions. They have already received training overseas in this regard.

Chancellor of the Judiciary Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards,  pointed to the importance of the new court and how juveniles will be sentenced using the new legislation, the Juvenile Justice Act.

The Juvenile Justice Bill was passed in the National Assembly back in April. Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan noted how pleased he is to launch the new Court. He noted that in the bill, there are measures in place to ensure that the court is a last resort for the child. However, should a matter reach to the court, imprisonment for the juvenile is not an option.

“Our Government wants to see an Act which reflects this modern philosophy of juvenile justice; one which strengthens the justice system for juveniles and makes it more responsive to them and their situation,” Mr Ramjattan said.

Two more Children’s Courts are expected to be commissioned in Berbice and Essequibo next year. More such courts are also expected to be established in all the Magisterial Districts across the country.



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