Gov’t to reduce use of pre-trial detention for minor crimes
GINA, GUYANA, Tuesday, November 29, 2016
The government will review its pre-trial detention policies and push for alternative sentencing as it works towards reforming the justice sector in the coming year.
Minister of Finance Winston Jordan, during his 2017 budget presentation on Monday in the National Assembly, said that the government will reduce the burden on the prison system by implementing a comprehensive institutional strengthening programme aimed at influencing the use of penal and rehabilitation policy and law. This will be done through the “Support for Criminal Justice System Programme”, Minister Jordan pointed out.
“Ultimately, we intend to reduce the use of pre-trial detention for persons accused of minor, non- violent, offences by aggressively promoting the use of alternative sentencing options such as probation, community service, restitution, and fines,” Minister Jordan explained.
The strengthening of the legislative framework is also being done to enhance capacity to prevent money laundering and arrest the financing of terrorism. “To this end, the Government has embarked on a tailored technical cooperation programme aimed at formally assessing the money laundering and terrorist financing risks,” Minister Jordan noted.
While Guyana, was cleared from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) watch list in October in this regard, the government must prove its effectiveness in being able to convict those who launder money and pilfer state assets if it is to remain off the watch list. The capacity of the judicial system will have to be developed in order to meet this requirement.
“The Government continues to place the highest priority on the maintenance of a strong justice system, given its role in upholding our civil liberties and maintaining the rule of law,” Minister Jordan said.
Additionally, the government pledged to work assiduously in the area of constitutional reform. “An administrative secretariat will be established to manage the reform process and support the consultations,” Minister Jordan stated.
Minister Jordan said that in 2017 consultations across the 10 administrative regions will be done by the Constitutional Reform Commission. The consultations are expected to last for two years with over 100 communities being engaged in the process for which $80M has been allocated.
By Tiffny Rhodius