Video conferencing to begin at Vigilance Magistrates Court

─gets audio-visual recording equipment

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, January 30, 2020

With the receipt of an audio-visual recording system today, the Vigilance Magistrates Court on the East Coast Demerara will be introducing remote court participation at the Diamond Hospital and one designated Prison or Police Station.

The presentation is the result of a collaboration between the Supreme Court of Judicature, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Ministry of Public Security and the Region 4 Regional Democratic Council (RDC).

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Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, Chief Justice Roxane George and UNICEF country representative to Guyana and Suriname, Sylvie Fouet at the handing over ceremony at the Vigilance Magistrates Court.

Delivering brief remarks, Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards noted that the use of this technology will be very useful to the dispensation of justice.

“This system will help us to take evidence even if witnesses are abroad or if they might be in hospitals, even the police might be in another location, they might be in the interior and you know that because Guyana is so huge, witnesses and investigators might be in different part of the country dealing with another matter in another court, and sometimes the time it takes to get to that court may result in the matter being dismissed…and so, initiative like these will definitely help us,” she explained.

Justice Cummings-Edwards pointed out that technology is changing the way law is practised and justice is dispensed, and therefore Guyana’s Judicial sector is aiming to have the means to make justice more efficient. Therefore, she observed, this new system, will aid in that effort.

Chief Justice Roxane George acknowledged the partnership between the Supreme Court and UNICEF which has realised many initiatives in the administration of justice by providing the skype and video recording equipment and training of staff.  Similar initiatives were done in the Sexual Offences Court and the Children’s Court.

“We are trying to roll out the technology, court by court, district by district and so we are here on the East Coast today,” the Chief Justice remarked.

UNICEF country representative to Guyana and Suriname, Sylvie Fouet, assured the organization remains committed to providing support in facilitating more access to justice, in particular for women and children and also partnering with different entities.

Fouet also recognised Guyana’s effort in decentralising courts, particularly in Berbice and Essequibo which will allow more residents easier access to justice in those far-flung areas.

The move is intended to contribute to the wider plan of ensuring easier and faster access to justice by saving time and costs, improving efficiencies and security and improve efficiencies in the system.  There is also a commitment from the sectors, e.g. the hospital to review their procedures and to provide a safe space- to ensure access to justice for families and children.

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