Consultancy underway to reduce amount of pretrial detainees

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, January 12, 2018

A consultancy is underway to ascertain what methods can be implemented to reduce the rate of pre-trial detainees.  According to Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, this issue has been cited as one of the factors increasing the number of incarcerated inmates countrywide.

The consultancy is being done by Trinidadian Legal Consultant and Senior Council Peter Pursglove.

Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan giving a presentation during the 83rd Parliamentary Sitting of the National Assembly

The Public Security Minister outlined some of the recommended proposed actions during his presentation at the 83rd sitting of the National Assembly on Wednesday.

He stated, “Consideration will be given to the possibility of using a computerised prisoner database by the prison service, to track individual prisoners through the justice system, and to facilitate the collection and reporting of statistics. As well as collecting the number of prisoners on remand and also urging their early trials. Following consultations with the judiciary, the prosecution must consider criminal case management to facilitate the hearing and resolution of criminal cases before the courts.”

Minister Ramjattan added that it is also advisable that a uniform presumption in favour of bail, help to facilitate the granting of more unconditional bond and the relaxing and diversification of bail conditions. This, he noted, aims to reduce the number of remanded prisoners in custody.

The Minister said, “In that regard, consider replacing our common law bail provisions which we use with a dedicated bail act. So the work is being done, and slowly we are going to get it done. These things were done under the previous administration.”

The consultant has also been advising governments and international organisations, including the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on Public International Human Rights and Constitutional Law and Legislative Drafting.

The consultancy is one of the many efforts by the government to improve the justice system which has been affected by a myriad of problems for several decades.

By: Paul McAdam

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