Guyana to host regional Legal Conference on Criminal Justice Reform in July

Attorney General’s Chambers and Legal Affairs Ministry

See below for a statement on Guyana hosting the regional Legal Conference on Criminal Justice Reform in July:

The Government of Guyana, through the Attorney General’s Chambers and the
Ministry of Legal Affairs, will host the first- ever ‘Legal Conference on Criminal Justice
Reform – Advancing the Needham’s Point Declaration’, in the Region, to be held in
Guyana, at the Marriott Hotel, Georgetown, on the 10th-11th July, 2024.

This seminal initiative is part of the Government’s agenda to modernize the country’s
legal architecture and to continue to prepare the legal system of Guyana to meet the
evolving demands of modern legal challenges.

This two-day Conference was conceptualised from a collaborative effort between the
Attorney General’s Chambers and Ministry of Legal Affairs of the Co-operative
Republic of Guyana and the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Academy for Law and
is part of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)-funded Support for the
Criminal Justice System (SCJS) project in Guyana.

This Support for the Criminal Justice System (SCJS) project targets two key aspects of
criminal justice reform aimed, inter alia, to help Guyana overcome prison overcrowding,
by reducing pre-trial detentions and increasing the use of alternative sentencing, among
other measures.

To this end, this mega landmark event is set to redefine the future of criminal law
practice and procedures and will feature keynote speeches and panel discussions led by
distinguished experts in the field of criminal justice in the Caribbean and aims to build
on the significant progress made during the Caribbean Court of Justice Academy for
Law’s 7th Biennial Conference held October, 2023, in Barbados, where the Needham’s
Point Declaration was adopted as a commitment to improving criminal justice.

The Needham’s Point Declaration covers key areas related to criminal justice reform,
including policy and legislative interventions, prosecution, police representation for the
accused victims’ rights and judicial interventions. The declaration emphasizes the need
for swift justice for the guilty and protection of the innocent.

The Attorney General has recently emphasised the importance of continuing legal
education in Guyana. In this stead, and in keeping with the objective to educate, this
Conference offers an opportunity for the continued discussion on best practices,
experiences, and recommended actions for addressing critical issues within the criminal
justice system.

The Conference will cover several topics, including but not limited to, eliminating case
backlog, Criminal Procedure Rules, plea bargaining, Children’s Court experience, role
and impact of Public Defender’s Office, Judge alone trials, dealing with DNA evidence
in Court, Restorative Justice, the art of fact finding, sentencing guidelines and paper

In this regard, the focus will be on enhancing continuous legal education in an effort to
keep abreast with the transformative changes in the legal framework through shared
knowledge and collaborative efforts which will serve well to equip all stakeholders in
the Criminal Justice System to effectively implement and interpret new laws. This, the
Attorney General stated, is aligned to the Government of Guyana’s transformative

A distinguished group of presenters and panellists have been identified for this event
and, also, among the impressive list of invitees are Attorneys General from the
Caribbean, Heads of Judiciaries, Judges, Directors of Public Prosecution, legal experts,
law professors, policymakers, criminal defence attorneys, advocates, members of law
enforcement, law students and members of civil society, all from across the region
coming together for a comprehensive discussion aimed at advancing the Needham’s
Point Declaration.

All persons interested in attending the ‘First Legal Conference on Criminal Justice
Reform- Advancing the Needham’s Point Declaration’, may do so by registering before
the 20th June, 2024, at [email protected].