Negotiations ongoing with UG to start prosecutorial programme
Negotiations are ongoing between the Support for the Criminal Justice System (SCJS) programme and the University of Guyana (UG) to start the one-year accredited prosecutorial training programme for law graduates and police prosecutors.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Hon. Mohabir Anil Nandlall made these statements at a press briefing today at the Umana Yana.
The SCJS is currently procuring the services of a consultant, who will be tasked with crafting a syllabus and coordinating the programme, he said. On completion of this process, it is anticipated that the first semester of the programme will start by year end.
Minister Nandlall said the response by Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degrees holders has been remarkable. “We have, already, enough persons who have expressed an interest, to staff each magistrate’s court in the country with a prosecutor …”
Once a corps of properly trained prosecutors is in place, all avenues of the law about alternative sentencing will be explored. This will result in a vast reduction of custodial sentencing for non-violent offenders.
“We also believe that a properly trained prosecutor will be able to take advantage of devices that are currently in the law, for instance, plea-bargaining, which is highly underutilised… The criminal justice system can be saved months of work and millions of dollars of resources if plea-bargaining arrangements can be struck, obviating the need for prolonged and protracted trials,” Minister Nandlall noted.
Nevertheless, he said the programme would not phase out the Guyana Police Force (GPF) prosecution but enhance it.
“You still need the Police because they understand the Force. They will be assisting the principal prosecutor, who will be the one with the Bachelor of Laws degree. They will be responsible with getting the evidence from the Police and so on and so, I believe that a combination of the two would work well.”
While acknowledging the work of the GPF, the Minister said they are not knowledgeable about all the facets available in the current criminal law to take advantage of the law relating to alternative sentencing.
Once that programme is up and running, he expects that it will transform the prosecutorial landscape of Guyana.
The programme is a major component of the Criminal Justice System programme which is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) aimed at strengthening Guyana’s prosecutorial services.