$24M Mibikuri Magistrate’s Court recommissioned

Residents and legal practitioners in Mibikuri, Black Bush Polder, and neighbouring communities in the East Berbice-Corentyne region have been given improved access to legal services with the recommissioning of the Mibikuri Magistrate’s Court.

(left to right) Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan, Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George, Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag), Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, SC, and Country Representative (ag) for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Guyana and Suriname, Irfan Akhtar stand beside the plaque

Upgrades to the facility began in 2020 due to the dilapidated and outdated state of the building, with some $24 million expended to execute the project.

In his feature address at the recommissioning ceremony, Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Anil Nandlall, SC, said the occasion was important for the community, the county, and country as a whole.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, SC, cutting the ribbon to recommission the court with pupils of Johanna Primary School

“The government partners with the judiciary to ensure that the rule of law, the administration of justice, and law and order is maintained in our country. These are the fundamental pillars that keep civilisation and civil society together.

“Translated into the community where they manifest themselves in the form of courthouses, and other institutional edifices, it is these institutions that keep order in these communities right across the length and breadth of our country.”

The upgraded interior of the courthouse

AG Nandlall highlighted the successful relationship that exists between the executive and the judiciary, pointing out that the two branches of government will continue to enjoy the relationship as they strive to ensure access to justice for all Guyanese.

The upgraded interior of the courthouse

He also drew attention to the importance of legal services in Guyana, asserting that access to justice is just as important as access to any other service, including healthcare, food and water.

The upgraded interior of the courthouse

If you have no rights, if your freedom is not protected, then life becomes a waste of time. And it is this institution, the rule of law the administration of justice that protects your freedom, your liberties, your property, and life itself. So, it is important as every other right and every other facility that the government is working on to provide for the people of our country,” the Attorney General said.

The Mibikuri Magistrate’s Court boasts a number of modern amenities, including wheelchair ramps, dressing rooms for lawyers and judges, a small library, ergonomic furniture, and a briefing room.

The courthouse is also equipped with climate control and an automatic recording system to keep record of trials and evidence.

The upgraded interior of the courthouse

An important feature of the courthouse, however, is the special hearing room, which was also commissioned on Thursday.

The room provides a safe space for vulnerable victims of crime to give their testimonies and interact with court officials in a more comfortable environment, while ensuring they are not revictimised or retraumatised by facing perpetrators.

The rehabilitated Mibikuri Magistrate’s court

Students across the community are also permitted to attend court to participate in the court process and utilise its facilities.

Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George, Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag), Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan, Senior Magistrate Alex Moore, Magistrate Rabindranauth Singh, Magistrate Renita Singh, Members of the Berbice Bar Association, Country Representative (ag) for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Guyana and Suriname, Irfan Akhtar, as well as representatives from ChildLink and Blossom Inc. were also present at the recommissioning.

This is in keeping with the PPP/C Government’s Manifesto promise of ensuring that the delivery of justice improves in Guyana.

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