Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
….prisons to be equipped with technology to accommodate virtual hearings
In an effort to accelerate the administration of justice, the Government of Guyana is collaborating with the Judiciary, the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Prison Service to facilitate early and speedy hearings, trials and conclusion of cases in the criminal justice system.
In making the announcement on Sunday, the Ministry of Legal Affairs said such a move is critical amid the growing COVID-19 pandemic, which has infiltrated the prisons. In the Lusignan Prison alone, more than 140 prisoners have tested positive for the virus.
On Sunday, officials from the various institutions met at the Umana Yana and made a series of important decisions.
The Government team was led by Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, and included Minister Robeson Benn and a number of technical personnel from the National Data Management Authority. Representing the Judiciary were Chief Justice (ag) Roxanne George-Wiltshire, Justice Naresh Harnanan and Justice Brassington Reynolds. Assistant Commissioner of Police, Clifton Hickens, led a team from the Guyana Police Force and the Director of Prisons, Gladwin Samuels, and his staff were present on behalf of the Guyana Prisons Service.
It was explained that the principal objective of the engagement was to establish the required physical and technical infrastructure for criminal litigation to take place on virtual platforms. Following those discussions, it was decided that retrofitted containers will be installed at prisons located at Camp Street, Georgetown; Lusignan, East Coast Demerara; New Amsterdam and Mazaruni.
“These containers will be air-conditioned and equipped with the necessary technical apparatus that will provide a link to the prisoners and the various Court house. Once implemented, this measure will obviate the need for prisoners to be transported physically out of the prisons and taken to the various Courts for their cases,” the Legal Affairs Ministry explained.
Another aspect of the project will result in identified Police Stations being equipped with the required technology to allow for defendants to appear virtually so that charges to be read to them and pleas entered, if necessary.
“Caribbean jurisdictions are already moving in this direction with Trinidad and Tobago being the most advanced. The team will use Trinidad and Tobago as the model to design Guyana’s system,” the Ministry noted.