Restorative justice could positively impact Guyana’s judicial system

Participants of the Restorative Justice Practitioner (RJP) training programme have expressed optimism about the potential transformation of Guyana’s justice system following a comprehensive two-week knowledge-sharing session.

The Department of Public Information (DPI) on Friday spoke with several persons who shared their insights and hopeful outlooks following their participation in the workshop.

Former teacher and community worker from Region Two, Judy Lall, expressed how her enhanced competence and confidence will improve her daily performance.

“I am happy that I am one of the first set of practitioners. Guyana is going to benefit from this in terms of minimising court matters,” she explained.

Lall noted that Guyana’s criminal justice system is poised for change as both victims and perpetrators become aware of the availability of restorative justice and the support system in place for them.

Towana Moore-James, one of the participants of the Restorative Justice Practitioner (RJP) programme

Another participant, Towana Moore-James stated that the training has equipped her to handle victims and perpetrators, given her interactions with individuals from diverse and sometimes conflicting backgrounds.

“Sometimes one mistake in a youth’s life can determine which direction that youth take, so us as RJ practitioners we will be supporting the judicial system in a way that will allow the youths to build a proposing future,” Moore-James shared.

Shaunette Persaud-Mohabir is grateful for what she learned during the training

Meanwhile, Shaunette Persaud-Mohabir is confident that the training and implementation of restorative justice will reduce the likelihood of individuals being incarcerated.

“Persons will have the opportunity to solve the petty matters instead of going to court,” the young woman stated.

Former Headmaster of the Anna Regina Multilateral Secondary School Parmeshwar Lall highlighted how the training has prepared him to address societal challenges.

Given the issue of overcrowding in Guyana’s prison system, Lall believes that restorative justice will serve as a valuable supplement to the existing judicial system.

Restorative Practitioner within the Ministry of Legal Affairs, William Boston noted that the government has been making tremendous efforts to ensure the justice system is impartial.

Restorative Practitioner within the Ministry of Legal Affairs, William Boston has been at the training every day and is happy with the outcome

The training programme, launched on March 11 by the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC, at the Police Officers’ Mess Annex, is a collaboration between Guyana, Canada, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Over two weeks, 23 individuals, including community leaders, victims, and perpetrators, gained comprehensive knowledge on effectively addressing crimes in society.

These participants will soon receive their certificates, empowering them to enact restorative justice within their respective communities.