Memorandum of Understanding inked between the Ministry of Legal Affairs and the University of Guyana

Under the Support for the Criminal Justice System (SCJS) Programme, funded by the Inter- American Development Bank, the Ministry of Legal Affairs and the University of Guyana today inked a Memorandum of Understanding for the introduction of a new course in the Faculty of Social Sciences, Law Department, titled “Advocacy and Evidence for Summary Courts Prosecutors”.

This was completed today at the Chambers of the Attorney General in the presence of the Honorable Attorney General, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, University of Guyana representatives; Head of the Law Department Ms. Kim Kyte-Thomas, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Dr. Paulette Henry; representatives from the Support for the Criminal Justice System ( SCJS)  Programme, Ms. Indira Anandjit, Project Manager, Procurement Officer, Mr. Rabindra Kandhi and Mr. Chevy Devonish, State Counsel from the Attorney General’s Chambers.

At today’s meeting, the Attorney General delivered a syllabus and lecture manual, prepared by a consultant under the SCJS Programme, to Ms. Kim Kyte.

The focus of the course is to train students, more specifically, holders of a Bachelor of Laws of Degree to prosecute in Magistrates Courts. The syllabus includes principles of the law of evidence, criminal law and procedure, as well as, principles governing all applications and rules relative to criminal proceedings in the Magistrates Courts, in Guyana. The courts will also train students in the art of advocacy and presenting evidence, as well as, cross examining in these proceedings. The conduct of preliminary enquiries will also be covered.

Graduates of this programme will be infused in the State’s Prosecutorial Arm in Magistrates Courts across the country. They will join and eventually replace police prosecutors in the Magistrates Courts. These graduates will be hired by the State. Funding from the SCJS project will finance the cost of training a batch of twenty-five (25) students per semester.

This course will be taught as an optional course after foundational courses in criminal law, legal research and writing, and English 101, have been completed. It may also be taken by any third year LLB student as an optional course. Completion of this course and the foundational courses will result in the award of a “Summary Courts’ Prosecutors Certificate”.   This course is expected to begin in March of 2022.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Honourable Mohabir Anil Nandlall, thanked the University for accepting the programme in the Law Department and indicated that the time has come for novel initiatives to be pursued in legal training. He indicated this initiative is historical and will serve a greater audience than prosecutors and students who are reading for their Law Degree.

“Justice is not a one-way street. The scales of justice must be equally balanced between the State’s interest, representing the victims of crime and the interest of the accused person. Now, it is tilted because at the level of the Magistrates Court, the accused is represented by a trained legal mind and the State is represented by a police officer. The introduction of the graduates of this programme into the prosecution system is intended to address this imbalance. It is expected that the quality of representation that the graduates will bring will be appreciably superior to that which currently exists. Notwithstanding, I must salute our police prosecutors who, with limited training, have acquitted themselves with distinction in performing that difficult role of prosecuting” said Attorney General.

 He is optimistic that such a course will be emulated in the Caribbean region. The Attorney General has pledged his support for other initiatives within the Law Department such as, upgrading of a Zoom classroom and acquisition of Law Books.