Supreme Court launches public education campaign

─ to build trust, confidence in judiciary during pandemic

The Supreme Court of Judicature today launched its Public Education and Engagement Programme, assuring citizens that the ‘wheels of justice’ continue to turn, even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With support from Canada’s Judicial Reform Institutional Strengthening (JURIST) project, the virtual campaign brought together senior officials of the judiciary. 

Chief Justice (Ag.) Roxane George said the Court has employed a range of technologies for hearing matters, amid the pandemic.  

“The pivot to the COVID-19 communications campaign was an imperative, but the overarching communications project to build public trust and confidence in the judiciary remains a very important focus of our partnership with JURIST.”  

Meanwhile, Chancellor of the Judiciary (Ag.) Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards said the COVID-19 pandemic brought an “onslaught on every institution, including the judiciary as it sought to disrupt the delivery of justice to citizens.”

“It made it difficult for matters to be filed, for cases to be heard, for decisions to be communicated and for remedies to be implemented. It prevented persons from accessing the courts because of the national stay-at-home and curfew orders,” the Chancellor said.

In the wake of these restrictions, the Supreme Court took swift action to ensure that matters could still be heard so that justice was neither delayed nor denied. 

“We ensured that though one had to maintain social distancing, there was no legal distance between, you, the Court and your matter to be heard. There was no legal isolation either,” Justice Cummings-Edwards said. 

Meanwhile, Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana and Suriname, H.E Lilian Chatterjee assured Guyanese that the justice system would still serve them. 

“All members of the judicial system, judges, lawyers and magistrates know the importance of the judicial branch in a democratic society. We have all seen the three-legged stool which depicts the judicial, legislative and executive branches of government, equally important in holding up democracy.”

The campaign underscored the need to keep every citizen informed. 

The Court also launched its website supremecourt.gy which has allowed the implementation of a filing mechanism that reduced visits to the court registries to file matters during the pandemic. 

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Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. We urge citizens to practice good hygiene and social or physical distancing also adhere to the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, Guyana.