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A $37.8 million Magistrate’s Court and living quarters was commissioned on Friday in Kwakwani, Region, 10.
In remarks Regional Chairman Deron Adams says the Regional Democratic Council of Region 10 holds a special interest in ensuring the equitable distribution of services to our constituents all across this vast Region. He said the 6,555 square miles of terrain that “we are elected to secure development initiatives for includes areas that are urban and rural in nature, but we are committed to working towards ensuring that the opportunities and amenities available to residents in the more urban areas are extended to other communities as well.”
Adams pointed out that access to justice features prominently in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, whose Target 16.3 of Goal 16 is about promoting the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensuring equal access to justice for all. “This is particularly important when a person’s fundamental rights to life and liberty are put at risk. The Kwakwani Magistrate’s Court is one of three that were budgeted for in 2019, when the decision was taken to ensure that justice is dispensed to the furthest reaches in Guyana,” Adams reminded the audience which included Attorney General Anil Nandlall.
“It is against this backdrop that I am so happy to join in this simple yet important ceremony here today, as we welcome the provision of access to legal action being brought closer to the people who need the service. For those who are accustomed to having easy access to these services in other areas of Guyana, the hardship of being without it may not be readily apparent. However, I am certain that the people of Kwakwani and the Upper Berbice River communities look at this as a welcome development.”
Adams noted that “the efforts and representation of your Regional Democratic Council on this and other issues will continue, and I stand here today to say to you that your elected representatives still have much to do in terms of representation for similar services to be brought to your communities. We look forward to the day when banking services, licensing and other government services are provided on site here in the Berbice River. This objective is never far from our focus.”
Delivering the feature address at the simple ceremony, Attorney General, Anil Nandlall said access to justice is an inalienable right to the people of Guyana. The Attorney General said the judiciary is the fundamental pillar on which a modern democratic society stands.
“It is the justice system and the rule of law that protects life itself, that protects our ability to speak, to move, to celebrate and to do some many things that we take for granted,” the Attorney General stated.
He relayed that the setup of courts from a decade ago has changed tremendously, becoming more comfortable for everyone. Those are accomplishments that must not be taken for granted, he noted, adding that today, persons have access to the most modern facilities in the most rural areas.
“When in government we speak about the economic, commercial and infrastructural transformation that is taking place in our country across its every landscape. The same thing is happening in the judiciary as well.”
Government, he said, is committed to resourcing the judiciary as far as possible.
“As soon as they ask for a plot of land, I immediately get my particular clearance and I go to the requisite department and I make my request and it is delivered. We do so not because we want any particular favour from the judiciary, we do so because we are committed to ensuring that we do everything possible so that they can deliver to you the quality of justice and service that you deserve as people of our country,” he said.
Acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, said Guyana has another facility to ensure there is access to justice. She explained that at one point in time, the people of Kwakwani had to travel all the way to Berbice to seek justice, something that is now a thing of the past for the over 4,000 residents in the community.
“Although I am told there are no street names except for Old Market Street in this community and there are no lot numbers, everyone knows everyone in this community, and for the most part they all get along well. Nevertheless, time and again there has been infractions of the law; there is a need to uphold the rule of law in any community and therefore a court is needed,” the Chancellor said.
Her Worship Wanda Fortune will be the resident Magistrate for the court, which will have two sittings per month.
Also present at the opening were Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan, Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George, Director of Public Prosecutions Shalimar Ali-Hack and other senior officials. (DPI)