Gov’t to address ‘chronic delay’ in the justice system – AG
– January Demerara Criminal Assizes open with 308 cases
Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Anil Nandlall, SC, reaffirmed the government’s dedication to fostering a modernised and enhanced judiciary.
He was at the time delivering remarks at the opening ceremony of the January criminal assizes and Law Year 2023 at the Victoria Law Courts.
The attorney general acknowledged and addressed the concerns regarding the inadequacies of human resources in the judiciary, noting that the first quarter of 2023 will see the appointment of the
Judicial Service Commission and Public Service Commission to tackle these deficiencies.
“We will have to improve on the complement of judges and support staff. But we will also at the same time ease the caseload in the magistrate’s court while we will also address the question of the chronic delay that plagues the criminal justice system and the civil justice system as well,” AG noted.
He assured that government will continue to make its contributions to the modernisation of the judiciary, noting that among the expenditures to be presented in the 2023 budget on Monday, billions will be allocated to execute the plans in this regard.
“We have altered over the years the budgetary process to ensure that there is a direct interaction between the judiciary and the Ministry of Finance in terms of planning and financing the plans of the judiciary for any given financial year, as part and parcel of ensconcing the constitutionally authorised independence with which the judiciary is imbued.”
Further, the Attorney General emphasised the importance of law revision exercises to equip the public with adequate access to the Laws of Guyana, as well as to have a consolidated structure to promote order in the legal system.
Delivering the feature remarks, Chancellor of the Judiciary, Honourable Madam Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, OR, CCH, highlighted the achievements of the Judiciary as they seek to modernise the system and enhance access to justice.
“We intend to look at enhancing access to justice, innovations and technology, raising professional standards and strengthening our partnerships with external agencies and other stakeholders,” Justice Cummings-Edwards noted.
Moreover, she highlighted the role government has played through its budgetary allocations to expand the complement of courtrooms and courthouses across the country.
As part of the efforts to enhance access to legal aid, she made note of the intentions to implement a ‘mobile court’ which will see caravans travelling to riverine areas and other obscure communities to dispense justice.
She said, “this will help us to not have to build buildings or rent accommodations, but the magistrates and the court staff will be able to use the vehicle to have cases heard in the remote and outlying areas.”
Meanwhile, Chief Justice (ag), Honourable Madam Justice Roxanne George, CCH, SC, commended the valiant efforts of the members of the judiciary for going beyond the call of duty amidst a burgeoning caseload. She highlighted that the vision for the court system is one that sees a smooth shift to technological-based operations, and disclosed that this year will see the implementation of several measures to modernise the judiciary.
Attorney-at-Law and President of the Bar Association of Guyana, Pauline Chase, Director of Public Prosecution, Shalimar Ali-Hack, SC, British High Commissioner to Guyana, Her Excellency Jane Miller, United States Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch, and European Union Ambassador, Rene Van Nes also attended the ceremony.
The motto for the Judiciary of Guyana has been identified as “Serving People, Providing Justice”.