New DNA system at forensic lab making improvements in clearing backlogs – Min Benn

The Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory (GFSL) is now making strides in clearing the backlogs of (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) DNA testing with the new analysis workflow system acquired through the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Minister Robeson Benn said specific tests are being conducted with the new machine although it is not fully operationalised.

Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn

“We’re waiting on specific instrumentation in relation to making that even faster [but] we have seen improvements in making up the backlog, which we had for particular examinations at the Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory,” Minister Benn explained.

In 2022, the National Assembly approved $50.5 million to provide additional resources to support the laboratory, specifically for acquiring the DNA analysis workflow system. It was acquired since the waiting time for DNA test results was lengthy due to the samples being sent abroad.

Minister Benn also disclosed that officials will visit a regional laboratory soon.

“We should be having a visit shortly to a regional laboratory in respect of their procedures and methodology in respect of the forensic laboratory issues,” the home affairs minister noted.

Additionally, four experts have been employed in various specialities to enhance the capacity of the forensic laboratory further.

The government was compelled to acquire a new DNA system since the system purchased in 2017 was deemed nonfunctional due to the discontinuation of its production by the company.