Budget 2022: $4.7B to strengthen Guyana’s justice sector

– Prosecutorial Programme to begin this year

Recognising that the stability and strength of the justice sector are paramount to public trust and investor confidence, the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) Government has budgeted $4.7 billion t0 improve the sector.

This allocation was announced by Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for finance Dr. Ashni Singh as he presented Budget 2022 on Wednesday.

The finance minister reminded that in 2021, $879 million was spent on the completion and construction of courts and living quarters countrywide, which will result in those in Bartica and Mahdia becoming operational this year.

In 2022, $1.3 billion will be expended to support the judiciary to improve access to justice, especially in previously underserved areas. To this end, Dr. Singh indicated that Port Kaituma, Mabaruma and Vigilance Magistrate’s Court will be completed in 2022, while two additional magistrate’s courts and living quarters along the East Bank of Demerara, in Timehri and Friendship, will be advanced.

“These investments will increase the number of courts around the country to 46 in 2022, from 41 in 2019 and will result in more timely delivery and improved access to the justice system, and reduced costs to citizens,” Dr. Singh related.

As it relates to improving the criminal justice system in 2022, a further $250 million has been allocated.

The minister said the University of Guyana’s (UG’s) Prosecutorial Programme will also commence this year, catering for 25 students over a 13-week period.

“Further,” Dr. Singh shared, “judicial policies aimed at reducing over-reliance on imprisonment are being developed to increase the use of alternative sentencing in the justice system.

To complement these initiatives, a Management Information System for the Ministry of Legal Affairs (Restorative Justice), Ministry of Human Services (Probation Department), Guyana Police Force, and the Director of Public Prosecutions will become operational this year, ensuring a coordinated approach to the effective management of cases.”

The Ministry of Legal Affairs led by the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, has continuously said that his ministry intends to overhaul and improve Guyana’s legislative framework. Work on constitutional reform is already in its advanced stages through the work of the Law Reform Commission.

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