Magistrates, Judges to undergo training on Juvenile Justice Act

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Persons in the justice system, specifically in the Children’s Court, are expected to undergo training to be fully aware of how matters should be dealt with under the recently-passed Juvenile Justice Act.

According to Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, since the Act was assented to, a Director and two Deputies have been appointed who would be responsible for ensuring the training is conducted, among other things.

The Minister pointed out that under the new regime, all persons who work in the judicial system who would be dealing with youths must know how to treat them. The training for these workers, he explained, will be a joint effort.

“The Act brings in a brand new regime under which juveniles must operate and all the ancillary other units like Prosecutors, other people who may be investigators; Judges, they will also have to know a thing or two about this regime and so there will be need for educating them and that is what I think the Chancellor will have to do so it would be a multiple effort, a multi-faceted effort that not only the Ministry of Public Security (will be involved in), but also the Judiciary and the Magistracy,” he said.

It was just recently that the Minister spoke of the need for Police Officers to not only be trained but properly sensitised to be able to handle youths who would have committed criminal offences.

He revealed that a manual is being drafted to guide the general conduct of Officers when handling youths who have committed criminal offences.

“You have to give special treatment to children who are underage. Now that the Juvenile Justice Act was passed, apparently some of these Policemen do not know (about it), and, of course, we have to get our Policemen all over to know,” he said.

According to him, the necessary training for ranks has already begun, but he explained that the Police Training College would be incorporating the Act, with the development of a manual to guide the ranks’ conduct.

The manual, he said, is being developed with the aid of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The Juvenile Justice Bill was passed in April 2018. The draft bill was conceived in 2004 under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic Administration, with support and input from UNICEF.

The first Juvenile Court was later opened in Guyana back in November 2018, with plans being announced to launch two more in Berbice and Essequibo later this year.

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